India on Wednesday unveiled revised and liberalised uplinking and downlinking guidelines for satellite television channels that allows Indian teleports to uplink foreign channels and scraps permission for live telecast of events — demands that the broadcast industry has been making for many years.
The Guidelines for Uplinking and Downlinking of Satellite Television Channels in India, 2022, which have been approved by the Union Cabinet, also makes it mandatory for television channels to telecast content in national and public interest for 30 minutes every day, Information & Broadcasting Secretary Apurva Chandra told reporters in New Delhi, according to a PTI report.
He said the new guidelines have done away with permissions for live telecast of events. However, prior registration of events to be telecast live would be necessary, the guidelines said.
The guidelines also allow a channel to be uplinked using facilities of more than one teleport/satellite as against only one teleport/satellite at present.
The guidelines also make it mandatory for channels uplinking in frequency bands other than C-Band to encrypt their signals.
Meanwhile, according to a government statement put out, some of the advantages emanating from the revised guidelines are as follows:
Ease of compliance for the permission holder
- Requirement for seeking permission for live telecast of events has been done away with; only prior registration of events to be telecast live would be necessary.
- No requirement of prior permission for change of language or conversion of mode of transmission from Standard Definition (SD) to High Definition (HD) or vice versa; only prior intimation would be required.
- In case of emergency, for a company/ LLP with only two Directors/ Partners, a Director/Partner can be changed, subject to security clearance post such appointment, to enable business decision making.
- A company/LLP can use news gathering equipment other than DSNG, such as optic fiber, Bag back, mobile, etc. for which no separate permission would be necessary.
Ease of Doing Business
- Specific timelines have been proposed for grant of permission.
- Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) entities can also seek permission.
- LLPs /companies would be allowed to uplink foreign channels from Indian teleports, which would create employment opportunities and make India a teleport-hub for other countries.
- A news agency can get permission for a five-year period as against one year at present.
- A channel can be uplinked by using facilities of more than one teleport/satellite as against only one teleport/satellite at present.
- The guidelines have broadened the possibility of allowing transfer of TV channel/teleport to a company/LLP as permissible under the Companies Act/ Limited Liability Act.
Simplification & Rationalization
- One composite set of guidelines has replaced two separate guidelines for uplink and downlink.
- Structure of the guidelines has been systematized to avoid duplication and common parameters.
- The penalty clauses have been rationalized and separate nature of penalties have been proposed for different types of contraventions as against uniform penalty at present.
- The companies/LLPs having permission to uplink and downlink a channel may undertake public service broadcasting (except where it may not be feasible) for a minimum period of 30 mins in a day on themes of national importance and of social relevance.
- The TV channels uplinking in frequency bands other than C-band are mandatorily required to encrypt their signals.
- Networth requirement for Companies/LLPs holding permissions to be as per the guidelines at the time of renewals.
- Provision of security deposits to ensure payment of dues.
The government also came out on Wednesday with a set of FAQs related to the uplink and downlink guidelines. It can be accessed at: https://mib.gov.in/sites/default/files/FAQs%20on%20Uplinking%20and%20Downlinking%20Guidelines%202022.pdf