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MIB: No deadline to TV channels on use of foreign satellites

Out of 867 TV channels greenlighted, 236 channels' permissions cancelled

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NEW DELHI: In what may come as a relief to TV channels, the Indian government said on Monday it has “not set any deadline” on the domestic media companies for use of transponders on foreign satellites, though it has withdrawn permission to over 200 channels for various reasons.

Asked by a fellow parliamentarian whether some TV channels were using foreign transponders even after expiry of a government deadline, Minister of Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore told Rajya Sabha (Upper House), “The government has not set any deadline for use of foreign transponders by the TV channel owners.”

The clarification from the MIB minister gains importance as indirect indications from various ministries --- like delays in various clearances --- over the last several months had been nudging TV channels to start the process of migration to Indian satellites from foreign spacecrafts.

A senior executive of a big broadcasting company admitted last week in private that though giving Rathore a free hand at MIB was a good sign, but clearance processes in the ministry were still slow.

Meanwhile, according to Rathore, out of the 867 private satellite TV channels having valid permission for uplinking and/or downlinking in India as of 30 June 2018, permission of 236 TV channels were cancelled due to “various reasons, including request for cancellation by the channel owner(s)”.

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