Regulators

Apply once for security clearance, not for every new channel: MIB

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NEW DELHI: The issue of security clearance for directors of TV channels has cropped up once again, this time on a good note. In a notice, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has said that applicants for new TV channels whose directors have already received security clearance will not have to apply for fresh security clearance from the Home Ministry (HM).

However, this will apply to those applicants who have filed within the validity period of security clearance.

In doing so, the MIB has restored a practice which was earlier in force but had been changed after the Home Minister, on 10 January this year, said that applications for new channels will require fresh security clearance though their tenure may be co-terminus with the 10 year licence period for the earlier channels owned by the same applicant.

In its note today, the MIB said it had been ‘the experience of this Ministry that the entire process of grant of permission has slowed down considerably.’ The issue had also been raised in open house meetings and other meets, conducted earlier.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar has also laid great emphasis on reviewing ‘such processes which cause avoidable delays and to streamline the same'.

While the MIB had decided to restore the old practice to avoid delays, it has said that a copy of each cleared application would be sent to the HM for ‘its record and information’.

The whole issue cropped up when the MIB had in June last year written a letter to the HM seeking clarification on the issue. In its reply in October last year, the HM had said that fresh security clearance would have to be sought and this would be valid for three years.   

Later in December, the MIB had written to the HM that the new applications be made co-terminus with the 10 year licence that the original channel had received.

The HM had in January this year agreed on the issue of being co-terminus, but said that fresh security clearance would have to be sought.

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