Govt reiterates no plans to cap number of TV channels in country

NEW DELHI: Even as the Government has no plans to put a cap on the number of satellite television broadcasting channels in the country, the Parliament was informed today that permission had been withdrawn to 27 news and current affairs channels in the past three years.

Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore today told Parliament that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in response to a reference by the Ministry had said on 23 July, 2010 that “no cap should be placed on the number of satellite broadcasting channels to be permitted to be downlinked from viewing in India or to be uplinked from India.”

The Minister also said that there was no proposal to amend the uplinking and downlinking guidelines to check the increase in the number of news channels in the country.

In reply to another question, Rathore said that the Ministry had withdrawn permission of 27 news and current affairs TV channels for reasons of non-operationalization of TV channels or surrender of permission, etc.

He said issues related to employment of media personnel, working in the TV channels (including news channels), are governed by the prevalent Labour Laws.

The number of permitted satellite television channels by the end of December last was 826, which include 405 news and current affairs channels and 421 general entertainment channels.

The statistics show that 697 channels (including 382 news channels) were permitted to uplink and downlink from within the country, and 36 (including seven news channels) were uplinked from India for beaming overseas and not in the country. The number of channels uplinked from overseas and downlinked into India was 93 (including 16 news channels).

The year 2014 has thus saw the clearance to more than 30 channels.

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