The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting recently issued a clarification regarding policy guidelines for uplinking and downlinking of satellite TV channels.
In a memo, the Ministry stated that it has received requests from stakeholders seeking clarification on Clause 11 (3) (f) of the policy guidelines, 2022. Some stakeholders have suggested that this clause could be misinterpreted to allow permission holders of satellite TV channels to provide signal reception decoders to various entities who were previously not permitted under the policy guidelines of 2011.
However, the Ministry's stance on this matter remains unchanged from the policy guidelines of 2011.
“Accordingly, it is reaffirmed that the permitted entities may only provide TV channel signal decoders to the following: 1) MSOs/Cable operators registered under the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995.
2) DTH Operators registered under the DTH guidelines issued by the Government of India.
3) Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) Service Provider duly permitted under their existing Telecom License or authorised by Department of Telecommunications.
4) HITS Operator duly permitted under the policy guidelines of HITS operators issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.”
As per the ministry, this memorandum is issued under Clause 37 of the policy guidelines of uplinking and downlinking of satellite TV channels in India, 2022.
The Delhi High Court in September, 2022, stayed an order of Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) directing broadcasters Star India, Sony and Sun TV to submit information regarding the content on their OTT platforms to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
Justice Yashwant Verma of the Delhi HC heard the petitions wherein the broadcasters had challenged a TDSAT order that upheld the TRAI direction asking them to furnish a “detailed architecture” indicating which media is being used to deliver content of linear channels to the broadcasters’ OTT platforms or third-party OTT platforms.
In November 2021, TRAI directed these broadcasters to give information regarding their live linear channel streaming on their OTT platforms. Later, in September 2022, TDSAT directed broadcasters to provide information regarding the same.
In December 2021, the TDSAT directed the TRAI to not take coercive action against broadcasters for not furnishing information related to the mode of retransmission of linear channels on OTT platforms.