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Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

Broadcast sector calls for more ease of doing business

The channels say security clearance by the home ministry is unnecessary and the government should not try to wield power over the industry

The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) has asked the government to simplify the approval process for various licences instead of adding more levels to it. This is in response to draft guidelines set by the ministry of information and broadcasting (I&B) for uplinking and downlinking private satellite channels.

IBF, a representative body of TV broadcasters in India, has brought up issues like timelines for grant of permission to new entities, or cases when a recognized broadcast entity wants to launch a new channel, change its logo or gets a new director without altering the shareholding pattern significantly.

The channels say security clearance by the home ministry is unnecessary and the government should not try to wield power over the industry. The guidelines were released in April.

What is in the draft document is based on existing procedures for home ministry clearance that TV channels undergo even today and that nothing new has been proposed, said a representative of the I&B ministry. But broadcasters see this as unnecessary politicization of a mass medium. “The idea is to control a platform that appeals to the lowest common denominator in the country," a senior executive from a leading broadcast network said on condition of anonymity.

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