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New TV Channel’s Broadcast Guidelines

Nov 13, 2022

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Our today's edition of Current Affairs is here. Read to know more about New TV channel’s Broadcast Guidelines. Also, find the topic's relevance to the UPSC CSE syllabus below:

Prelims Topic: Governance

Guidelines for TV channels, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Uplinking and downlinking, Indian Teleports

Mains Topic: GS2-Government Policies and Interventions

About the New Guidelines for TV channels, Significance of the New Guidelines, Measures to ensure compliance, Exemption from this obligation.

Context

Recently, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued new guidelines for Uplinking and Downlinking of Satellite Television Channels in India, in an order.

Probable Question

The Ministry has recently introduced a provision as “airwaves/frequencies are public property and need to be used in the best interest of the society” after many years. Explain the significance, need, and implications. (10 marks, 150 words)

About the New Guidelines for TV Channels

  • In India, more than 870 channels are operating, so for ease of doing business, the new guidelines have been amended after 2011. 
  • Satellite TV channels in India are required to broadcast at least 30 minutes of content daily on “themes of national importance and of social relevance” as per the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. 
  • Eight “themes of national importance and of social relevance”: Education and spread of literacy; agriculture and rural development; health and family welfare; science and technology; the welfare of women; the welfare of the weaker sections of society; protection of the environment and of cultural heritage; and national integration.
  • This is part of the ‘Guidelines for Uplinking and Downlinking of Satellite Television Channels in India, 2022’, which were approved by the Union Cabinet on September 28.
  • The guidelines span a range of subjects including uplinking and downlinking, hiring and purchasing of broadcast equipment, changes in name and logo, etc.
  • Uplinking and downlinking: The policy mandates that channels uplinking in frequency bands other than C-band must encrypt their signals. Uplinking and downlinking “shall be subject to clearance and approval by the Ministry of Home Affairs, and wherever considered necessary, of other authorities”.
  • Ease of doing business: The new guidelines allow a news agency to get permission for five years instead of the current one year. 
  • Penalty: The penalty clauses have been rationalized, and separate sets of penalties have been proposed for different types of contraventions as against the current uniform penalties.
  • Prior Permission: 

There is no requirement to seek permission for live telecast, only prior registration of events would be necessary for live telecast; 

Prior permission would not be needed for a change of language; 

No prior permission for conversion of the mode of transmission from Standard Definition to High Definition or vice versa; only prior intimation would suffice; 

No separate permission would be necessary for a company/LLP for using news gathering equipment other than DSNG (Digital Satellite News Gathering), such as optic fiber, bag back, mobile, etc. 

Also Read: Regulation Of Content On TV: Information & Broadcasting Ministry (I&B)

Significance of the New Guidelines

  • Ease Compliance: The new policy eases compliance for TV channels in various areas. 
  • Employment and Other Opportunities: Broadcast companies will be allowed to uplink foreign channels from Indian teleports, which would create employment opportunities and make India a teleport hub for other countries. 
  • Benefit Indian Teleports: Singapore is considered the hub of teleport uplinking, but after the new guidelines come into effect, foreign channels are expected to show greater interest in using Indian teleports.
  • Public Interest: The provision has been introduced as “airwaves/frequencies are public property and need to be used in the best interest of the society”

Measures to Ensure Compliance

  • Initially, the channels will be given certain time to conceptualise and create content.
  • Additionally a specific advisory on the date it comes into effect, and the time slots for the telecast of this content will also be issued soon.
  • Once the guidelines are implemented, the Ministry will monitor the channels for the broadcast of this content. 
  • An explanation will be sought, in case non-compliance is observed in the Ministry’s view. 
  • If there is a non-compliance consistently, further steps can be taken based on specific advisories that will be issued from time to time, and on a case-to-case basis by the Central Government.

Exemption from This Obligation

  • The government has argued that since “airwaves/ frequencies are public property” they “need to be used in the best interest of the society”. 
  • This condition is applicable to all channels, except those specifically exempted, such as in the case of sports channels, etc.
  • The exemption may also apply to wildlife channels and foreign channels, besides live telecasts in the case of sports channels.

News Source: The Indian Express and The Hindu

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/content-in-national-interest-what-new-tv-broadcast-guidelines-say-8261831/

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/centre-devises-new-guidelines-for-tv-channels-broadcast-of-socially-relevant-topics-compulsory/article66115553.ece

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