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Govt turns down foreign TV channels’ plea for extension of downlinking deadline

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Govt turns down foreign TV channels’ plea for extension of downlinking deadline

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has rejected the plea from some foreign television channels for a six-month extension of the deadline to comply with the downlinking policy norms, which ends on May 10, 2006.

Concerned parties like Indian Broadcasting Foundation, STAR India and Time Warner, Inc. had asked the Ministry to extend the deadline by six months “in view of the time lapse between announcement of the guidelines and the establishment of the registration deadline.”

The Ministry has categorically rejected the plea, saying downlinking to the failing parties would not be allowed after the deadline. “The guidelines stipulate a time of 180 days from November 11, 2005 for completion of all formalities of registration under downlinking guidelines. However, channels from which even complete applications, with processessing fees are not received on or before May 10, 2006, shall not be permitted to be downlinked thereafter,” the Ministry said in a statement.

Giving clarifications on various issues related to downlinking policy, the Ministry stated that “the applicant company is required to provide a facility where online monitoring of the content being beamed into India is possible, also the system should have the capacity to store the data for 90 days, which should be available to the government at any point of time, in India, at a pre-designated place.”

However, it held that the companies need not set up new facilities for this purpose, but could authorise any of their MSOs or head end operators to provide this facility to the government.

On the crucial issue of waiver of advertisement restrictions on foreign news channels targeting Indian viewers, the Ministry said, “The waiver will be based on the facts and circumstances of each case and will be subject to conditions, on a case-to-case basis. It is for the applicant company to make a case in its support. It may adduce any such data it considers necessary.”


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