Prasar Bharati has instructed BARC India to stop reporting ratings of Zee Media’s 9 unencrypted channels which are not a part of the DD Freedish bouquet but are being made available to FTA set-top-boxes bypassing the uplinking norms.
Additionally, the public broadcaster has also reminded the I&B Ministry that it has time and again raised the issue of the availability of unencrypted channels on FTA STBs and requested the ministry to take appropriate action so that such private channels which are not part of DD Freedish bouquet are not available on FTA STBs.
The letters written by Prasar Bharati said that the 9 regional channels from Zee Media are being uplinked unencrypted on Ku band transponders of GSAT 15 satellite (same satellite being used by DD Freedish) by private teleport operator.
The unencrypted channels are:
1. Zee Madhya Pradesh/ Chhattisgarh
2. Zee Bihar/ Jharkhand
3. Zee Uttar Pradesh/ Uttarakhand
4. Zee Salam
5. Zee Rajasthan
6. Zee 24 Kalak
7. Zee Punjab/ Haryana/ Himachal Pradesh
8. Zee 24 Taas
9. Zee Odhisa
BestMediaInfo.com had reported earlier this year in January that the government was planning a crackdown on DishTV for beaming Zee’s regional channels on DD Freedish bypassing rules.
DD Freedish officially beams 167 television channels to 43 million homes and the pubcaster has consistently held that the Zee Media channels are made available to FTA STBs in an unauthorised manner.
On the other hand, DishTV and Zee Media have been finding new ways to put their regional channels on DD Freedish and now DishTV is using its teleport licence.
The government in its upcoming uplinking and downlinking guidelines is expected to cover the loopholes being used by DishTV.
“DishTV and Zee Media know that what they are doing is illegal and that is why they have left only regional channels unencrypted. Even if the government cracks down, they would not be impacted because their competition is not there on DD Freedish. They cannot take this chance with Zee News and Zee Hindustan. Writing to BARC for not reporting the data from unauthorised distribution was one way to stop this unethical practice. Now, it is up to the ministry to stitch their guidelines which is expected anytime soon,” said a senior executive at Prasar Bharati.
Separately, six members of Parliament have listed questions in Parliament asking the I&B Minister Anurag Thakur if any channels are being broadcast illegally on DD freedish and if the ministry is planning to stop this. Thakur is expected to reply today in Lok Sabha.