BBC World news channel has sought permission from the I&B Ministry to allow it to carry advertisements on its channel available in India. Under the downlinking policy guidelines, the government has prohibited foreign news channels from carrying any India-centric advertisements in the Indian territory. However, it allows foreign news channels to apply to the government for waiving the blanket ban, which the Ministry will evaluate on a case-by-case basis.
When contacted, the Ministry sources accepted that they had received an application from the BBC and that they were evaluating it at present.
When asked what clarification BBC had given to the government, a BBC spokesperson said, “The BBC World channel is broadcast via the PAS 10 satellite across South Asia and the Middle East, which is received in a number of countries, including India. Therefore, advertising campaigns carried on the channel are viewed in a number of countries." (So it won’t be correct to say that we are carrying ads targeting the Indian audience)
Recently, BBC World had started a special season, Emerging Giants, focusing on the two Asian superpowers, China and India. The channel is airing it globally from May 22 to May 28 and has many Indian advertisers like Oberoi Hotel, Birla Sun Life, etc, on board.
Among the other foreign news and current affairs channels, Euro News, ABC Asia Pacific, Channel News Asia, Deutsche Welle TV have also applied for downlinking permission in India. A total of 65 applications were received by the Ministry, official deadline for which ended on May 10, 2006.