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March 27, 2023


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New uplinking, downlinking norms for TV channels cleared

2 min read

The information and broadcasting ministry on Wednesday released the revised guidelines for uplinking and downlinking satellite television channels and mandated encryption of channels for all bands, barring the C band.

The revised guidelines, approved by the Cabinet, also made it obligatory for private channels to telecast content in national and public interest for at least 30 minutes every day.

Besides, the government has mandated companies to ensure uplinking is done on specific frequency bands that were approved, and uplinking for all bands (other than C band) should be in encrypted mode. Basically, free-to-air channels, barring those on the C band, will have to be encrypted. The government expects the new guidelines to safeguard against unfair advantages that some TV channels enjoyed earlier.

In August, the ministry had to withdraw its permission to Zee Media Corp. Ltd (ZMCL) for uplinking 10 television channels available on Ku-Band (a form of satellite frequency) on GSAT-15 Satellite, which helped making the channels accessible on DD Free Dish, since they were not encrypted, giving the company an unfair advantage over its rivals.

The ministry said in a statement that the guidelines are easy to comply with and will simplify the process. Earlier, for non-news live events permission was required for live uplinking. Now companies will need to simply register instead of seeking permission from the ministry.

For channels moving from standard definition to high definition, the companies need not seek government permission but an intimation will suffice, it added. Companies can also uplink channels from more than one teleport or satellite, unlike earlier. Earlier, companies were not allowed to use Indian teleports to uplink foreign channels for downlinking content in overseas markets. To earn foreign exchange, the government permitted foreign channels to uplink from Indian teleports and downlink outside India.

However, companies and LLPs seeking permissions will need to deposit security money with the government, at twice the annual fee, to ensure payment of dues, the ministry said. There was no rule for security deposits earlier.

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