Regulators

Two open house meetings every month to speed channel licence clearance

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NEW DELHI: The new government at the centre certainly seems to be taking the issue of channel licence clearance very seriously. To clear the long list of pending applications for new TV channels, the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry has decided to hold open house meeting with stakeholders twice a month, as against the earlier practice of one meeting a month.

The next meeting is slated for 18 July in Shastri Bhavan, the main office of the Ministry. Stakeholders have been asked to send, in advance, the information they require, so that these can be supplied to them at the meeting.

It is understood that almost a hundred applications are pending for clearance at various stages either with the I&B Ministry, Home Ministry or the Department of Telecom.

Furthermore, the coming into force of the code of conduct in April this year prevented clearance of any new channels and therefore the number of channels which was 795 at the end of May remained the same at the end of June.

A large number of new applications including those by Media Content and Communications Services (MCCS) that runs the ABP group of channels, Star India for its second Tamil channel, and Epic TV are pending.

The only change was that the number of news and current affairs channels went up by two to 395 and the number of non news and current affairs channels came down by the same number to 400.

The first four months of 2014 saw licences being given to nine channels including AXN HD and SET HD.

The Ministry also placed on its website the names of the companies which own these channels, the language, and the date when permission was granted. 

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