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TV channels other than C-band need to be encrypted, says new Uplinking/Downlinking guidelines

I&B Ministry releases new uplinking/downlinking guidelines for TV channels after 11 years

Apurva Chandra

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) released new uplinking and downlinking guidelines for TV channels in India on Wednesday.

The earlier guidelines were issued in 2011.

In a press briefing, I&B Secretary Apurva Chandra said that ease of compliance for a permission holder has been the focus of the new guidelines. With this intent, specific timelines have been proposed for grant of permission.

Other salient features of the new uplinking and downlinking guidelines:

Frequency band: The TV channels uplinking in frequency band other than C band are mandatorily required to encrypt their signals. A channel can be uplinked by using facilities of more than one teleport/satellite as against only one teleport/satellite.

A teleport operator can uplink a foreign channel for being downlinked outside India enabling earning of foreign exchange for the operator.

The new guidelines have removed certain restrictions for transfer of a channel from one entity to another.

Eligibility: Earlier, only a company was eligible. Now, an LLP is also eligible.

Live for non-news content: The requirement for seeking permission for the live telecast of events has been done away with; only prior registration of events to be telecast live would be necessary.

Change language and SD to HD permission: No requirement of prior permission for change of language or conversion of the 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.

Hiring of dsng/sng for live: Earlier, permission was required for this but no permission is required now.

Indian teleport to uplink foreign channels for downlinking content abroad: Earlier it was not permitted while foreign channels are allowed to uplink from India for being downlinked abroad in the new guidelines.

A news agency can get permission for a 5-year period against one year at present.

Obligation to telecast content in the national interest or public services: Earlier there was no such provision. Now, private channels will have to telecast content in national interest/for public services. The content will be the channel’s content and the government will not provide content.

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 minutes in a day on themes of national importance and of social relevance.

Net worth require for renewal: Earlier it was as per 2005 guidelines for channels approved under it. Now, the requirement would be as per 2011 guidelines.

Security deposit: The was no such provision in the 2011 guidelines. Now, the security deposit would be twice the annual permission fee.

Penalty for misuse of permission by subletting: Earlier there was no such provision. Now, involving in such activity will attract suspension of permission for the licence.

Interest on late payment of on annual permission fee: Now, simple interest of 1% will be charged.

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