New Rules: Devotional Channels Must Air National Interest Content For 30 Mins Daily!

As per the latest development, a new category of “devotional” channels that will be permitted to uplink live content for free has been created in response to new government regulations according to which, the majority of television channels have to air 30 minutes of “public service” content on topics with broad national and social interest. These guidelines will be applicable from November 9th.

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Notably, the changes to regulations for stations that transmit from India (uplink) and those that transmit to Indian viewers through satellite (downlink) have been announced by the Union Information & Broadcasting Ministry. Furthermore, as stated by the officials, these changes are made in order to strengthen the ease of doing business and simplify compliance demands.

As per the new regulations, channels are now required to provide programming for eight different subjects related to “public service and national interest” for at least 30 minutes each day. Moreover, the government’s justification for the change is that because airwaves are public property, they must be used for the good of society. Furthermore, as claimed by the officials, a detailed advisory in the matter, will soon be issued.

In addition, TV channels uplinking in frequency bands other than C-band are required to encrypt their signals. Notably, the new rules state that the application “must be subject to review and approval by the Ministry of Home Affairs, and wherever thought required, of other authorities” for the uplinking and downlinking of a satellite TV station.

Similarly, a news agency may now request approval for a term of five years rather than just one year (currently) under the new rules. According to officials, the penalty clauses have also been rationalised, and different penalties for various violations have been suggested as opposed to the standard penalty currently.

However, as believed, the rules make it easier for TV stations to comply with regulations in a number of other areas, including temporary uplinking of a live event and no prior approval required (just registration) for live telecast of events. They also let Indian teleports uplink international channels. 

Subsequently, according to the guidelines, the obligation will be waived for several categories where it might not be possible, such as sports channels, etc., it states that the channels may “appropriately alter their material to achieve the requirement.”

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