Union Govt Announces New Guidelines For Uplinking/Downlinking For TV With 30 Min Mandatory Social Interest Content Broadcast

With a vision to make India an uplinking hub, the Central Government announced new guidelines for uplinking and downlinking of television channels in India.  However, the Central Government also included mandatory 30 min daily public interest broadcasts, mainly for private entertainment channels.

The pitch was under the ‘Guidelines for Uplinking and Downlinking of Television Channels in India,” announced recently, on the 9th of November, after being approved by the Union Government.   Under this new pitch, entertainment channels have a bunch of relaxations in streaming guidelines, including limited liability partnerships and companies to allow uplinking of foreign channels from India and teleport for beaming content in countries covered by the satellite footprint.

With this new move, television channels of Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal can uplink from India, instead of Singapore, the preferred uplinking hub for channels beamed to the subcontinent.

It is to be noted, currently, only 30 channels are uplinked from India out of the total 897 registered with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.  The Union Government said, “Requirement for seeking permission for live telecast of events has been done away with; only prior registration of events to be telecast live would be necessary.” 

Mr. Sanjiv Shankar, the Joint Secretary (Broadcasting,)  in a presentation to the media, said, “There would be no requirement of prior permission for change of language or conversion of mode of transmission from Standard Definition (SD) to High Definition (HD) or vice versa.  The channel will only have to inform the ministry about the changes.”

Furthermore, the new guidelines also state that a company can use news gathering equipment other than Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG,) such as optic fibre, back pack and mobile. For this, no separate permission would be necessary. 

However, the television channels would have to broadcast 30 minutes of public interest content every day on themes of national interest such as education and spread of literacy, agriculture and rural development, health and family welfare, science and technology, the welfare of women, the welfare of the weaker sections of the society, protection of the environment and of cultural heritage and national integration.

Mr. Apurva Chandra, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry Secretary said, “It is not that the government will give any programmes to the television channels for broadcasting under public interest content.  The channels are free to create their own content on the themes mentioned in the guidelines.”

Furthermore, in these new guidelines, the tenure for granted permission has been increased to five years over the present one year.

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