Television

News broadcasters seek government help to overcome corona crisis

Federation seeks intervention to combat financial impact

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MUMBAI:  The News Broadcasters Federation (NBF), the trade organisation that represents the combined interests of the news broadcasting industry on Monday sought the immediate intervention of the central government to overcome the larger economic, social, financial and business impact arising out of the combat measures and lockdown initiatives across the country that threaten the survival of the news television channels.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his televised address to the nation, on March 19, equated the news broadcasting sector in line with essential services, is a crucial acknowledgement of the important role of news broadcasters in rendering public service in such a critical situation which the nation is facing currently.

In the memorandum presented to the Prime Ministers’ Office, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and TRAI etc. the NBF has sought government intervention to combat the financial and business impact on the news broadcasting sector. 

To overcome the financial impact, the federation has requested the government to relax and offer tax concessions including lowering GST rates and filing dates, postponing the deadline for TDS payments, for at least a minimum period of three months, until June 30, 2020. The federation has also asked the government to waive off the fees for news channels on DD Freedish platform for March and April 2020.  The NBF has also sought extension in deadlines for compliance, since employees handling regulatory issues are currently working from home. 

“The NBF strongly stands and supports the Government of India’s proactive measures to combat spread of COVID-19 virus, which has posed a health and economic threat to the country.  This extraordinary situation required the government to take extraordinary measures to save the news broadcasting sector that performs a public service for free. Else, we perish,” said NBF President Arnab Goswami.   

The news broadcasters are facing slowdown of business operations and severe shortfall revenue as it has curtailed the flow of advertisement which is the largest source of revenue for FTA news broadcasters. The measures have also severely impacted cash flows due to lower collections of payments since clients are also scaled down their business operations. At the same time, the operating costs on connectivity and communications have tremendously increased due to the lockdowns while ensuring the safety of employees.

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