The News Broadcasters Federation has sought immediate government intervention to help news channels overcome the larger economic, social, financial and business impact arising out of the combat measures and lockdown initiatives across the country.
In a memorandum presented to the Prime Minister Office, Cabinet Secretariat, Ministry of Finance, GST Council, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, and Department of Telecommunications, NBF 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 the month of March and April 2020.
NBF has also sought extension in deadlines for compliance since employees handling regulatory issues are currently working from home.
“The News Broadcasters Federation 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 Arnab Goswami, President, News Broadcasters Federation.
The memorandum comes in the wake of the measures taken to combat the spread of Covid-19 virus, the news broadcasters are facing the 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.