The Indian government has issued a stern warning to TV channel Hope TV for failing in its financial obligations towards licence fees and suspended the channel’s broadcast for a month.
The government has also directed the distribution platforms to desist from carrying the offending channel on their networks failing which action could be taken against them too.
“(The) broadcast of the channel ‘Hope TV’ permitted to M/s. Noida Software Technology Park Limited is prohibited for a period of 30 days from 09-06-2021 (00:00 hrs. midnight) to 08-07-2021 (00:00 hrs. midnight) under the extant Policy Guidelines for uplinking and downlinking of Private Satellite TV Channels in India, 2011,” a notice from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) stated.
MIB has also directed hope TV to remove an unauthorized logo, which, it alleged, was undertaken without proper clearances, and pay up outstanding dues of Rs.15 lakhs (Rs. 15,00,000) as annual permission fee.
“The company is further directed to submit copy of valid distribution partner agreement with M/s. Adventist Television Network, USA to downlink and distribute the channel for viewing in the territory of India beyond the period 30-07-2014,” the ministry missive, posted on its website, said.
MIB had granted landing rights to Noida Software Technology Park Limited (NSTPL), which also operates in the business of downlinking channels into India, for a non-news and current affairs TV channel, HOPE TV, on November 11, 2009 under guidelines for downlinking. The permission was further renewed up to November 10, 2024.
The ministry also issued a show cause notice to NSTPL on August 20, 2020 for unauthorized change in the channel logo to Hope channel India from Hope Channel, apart from directions to pay up its dues. According to MIB, NSTPL failed to respond to its notices on both counts.
More action could be initiated against NSTPL by the government in case the latter failed to clear its stance with the MIB within the stipulated time period.