After the recent allegations on Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV and counter allegations on other news channels about using multiple logical channel number (LCN), the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has warned action against Multi System Operators (MSOs) for placing a channel at more than one LCN under multiple genres simultaneously.
In an advisory issued to the MSOs and other stakeholders, TRAI pointed out that it had received information about a lot of channels being placed on multiple logical channel numbers (LCNs) within multiple genres. “The authority views such practice as a material non-compliance of the extant regulatory framework prescribed by it. Therefore, all the MSOs are hereby advised to strictly comply with the extant regulatory framework in letter as well as spirit, failing which action shall be taken against such operators as envisaged in terms of the provisions of TRAI act 1997,” said the authority.
This mandate from TRAI comes close to the heels of the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) writing to TRAI about Republic TV alleging that the channel was running on multiple frequencies. This letter was written on May 11. The association had also written to the Broadcast Research Council of India (BARC) requesting them not to release the viewership data of Republic TV.
Thereon, the fight aggravated as India Today Group then filed a court case against Republic TV, TRAI and BARC. The Delhi HC however dismissed India Today Group’s case.
The TRAI had earlier written to over 20 MSOs seeking clarification in reference to the carriage of the newly launched Republic TV on multiple LCNs. BestMediaInfo.com had accessed a copy of this letter dated May 15, 2017.
The TRAI in its current letter to the MSOs said that it is required to ensure that all the channels falling in a particular genre appear in its (MSO’s) network’s electronic programming guide (EPG) under that genre. This will give the subscriber better visibility to the list of channels available in each genre wise making the services more consumer friendly.
Every broadcaster needs to declare its channel within any one of the genres be it ‘News and Current Affairs’ or ‘Infotainment’ or ‘Sports’ or ‘Kids’ or ‘Music’ or ‘Lifestyle’ or ‘Movies’ or ‘Religious and Devotional’ or ‘General Entertainment (Hindi)’ or ‘General Entertainment (English)’ or ‘General Entertainment (Regional Language)’.