MIB drafts new policy guidelines for uplinking, downlinking of TV channels

Comments have been invited on the draft from stakeholders within the next 15 days

MUMBAI: The ministry of Information and broadcasting (MIB) has drafted new policy guidelines for uplinking and downlinking of television channels in view of the fact that the broadcasting technology and market scenario have gone through a major change in this decade.

The last guidelines for uplinking and downlinking of satellite television channels were issued by the ministry in 2011. 

MIB has drafted the suggestions after consulting with stakeholders and has also invited comments on the draft from them within the next 15 days. Here are the major guidelines noted by MIB:

Online application on Broadcast Seva for teleport or TV channels:

A company or Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) may apply on Broadcast Seva on payment of processing fees for setting up a Teleport or Teleport Hub and uplinking, downlinking of a news TV channel or a non-news TV channel. The online application shall be processed from the standpoint of eligibility conditions and shall be subject to clearance and approval by the department of space, ministry of home affairs, and whenever considered necessary, by the department of revenue, ministry of finance. However, if considered necessary, the ministry may cause inspection of the physical premise or location.

Regulations for logo and name of a channel

For uplinking a news channel or a non-news channel, it has to furnish the proposed name and the logo of the channel along with a trademarks registration certificate regarding the ownership of the name and logo during applying. A company/ LLP shall display on the permitted TV channel only that name and logo which has been approved by the ministry. Hence, display of name and logo which has not been permitted or the display of dual logo would be treated as a violation of the guidelines.

Operational status of a permitted TV channel

A TV channel is required to remain operational during the currency of the permission.  Where a TV channel is unable to remain operational for a continuous period of more than 60 days, the company/LLP shall inform the ministry of the status along with reasons for the channel remaining non-operational. Provided that failure to inform the ministry regarding non-operational status of a channel beyond a continuous period of 60 days will be deemed to be a violation under the guidelines. Moreover, the channel shall not remain non-operational for a continuous period exceeding 90 days.

Live telecast of events

·  A news channel which is given permission under these guidelines may uplink news and current affairs content by using the Satellite News Gathering (SNG)/Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG) equipment permitted to it, or hiring such equipment owned by any other permitted news channel owner or a teleport operator, after registering such hiring by means of an application on Broadcast Seva portal.

·  A non-news channel having permission under this guideline may, for the purpose of broadcasting an event live (other than an event which is in the nature of news and current affairs), irrespective of the technology used for uplinking the event, register itself online on Broadcast Seva, at least five days preceding the first date of a live event, furnishing such details and documents as may be specified in the application for registration, including the following date, time, venue and name of the event; the channel’s/ teleport’s willingness to broadcast/ uplink the proposed programme/ event; due authorization of the event owner along with specific dates and timings of the proposed programme/ event, a valid WPC license issued to the teleport operator, where a SNG/DSNG equipment or any such technology is used requiring WPC license, where an equipment or technology other than SNG/ DSNG is used, detailed specifications thereof.

·  A foreign news channel/agency may be granted permission up to one year at a time for live uplinking from time to time through a pre-designated teleport, by way of an application made in this regard online on the Broadcast Seva Portal.

Transfer of permission of a television channel or teleport 

A TV channel or a teleport can be transferred by a company/LLP, to another entity only with prior approval of the ministry. However, transfer under sub-section shall be permitted under the following situations:

Merger/demerger/ amalgamation duly approved by the court/ tribunal in accordance with the provisions of the Companies Act, 2013, and the company/ LLP files a copy of the order of the court/tribunal sanctioning the said scheme; transfer of business or undertaking in accordance with the provisions of applicable law, and the company/ LLP files a copy of the agreement/ arrangement executed between itself and the transferee company/LLP; transfer within group company, and the company files an undertaking stating that the transfer is within the group companies.

Uplinking of television channels for viewing only in foreign countries

TV channels operating in India and uplinked from India but meant only for foreign viewership are required to ensure compliance of the rules and regulations of the country for which content is being produced and uplinked.

A channel owned by a foreign company/entity may be allowed to uplink its content to be viewed outside India by using the facility of a permitted teleport operator by way of an online application on Broadcast Seva furnished on its behalf by the concerned teleport operator.

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