A total of 65 foreign channels have formally applied to the government under the new Downlinking Policy, for permission to operate within India. The deadline for the same ended on May 10, 2006. This list includes six news and current affairs channels, five sports channels, and 54 entertainment channels.
The foreign news channels that have applied to beam into India are Deutsche Welle TV, Channel News Asia, CNN International, BBC World, ABC Asia Pacific (ABC), and Euro News.
Before the end of the deadline, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry had turned down a plea from several stakeholders for another six-month extension of the deadline. The government had notified the guidelines on November 11, 2005, setting a six-month deadline that ended on May 10, 2006.
After scrutiny, the government will allow registration to each channel for an initial period of five years. The applicant companies have paid a registration fee of Rs 5 lakh for each channel. In addition, each company has to pay an amount of Rs 1.5 lakh per channel per annum as the annual fee.
Foreign channels also have to keep a 90-day record of the content it is to air into the country. For any up gradation or expansion, the company has to obtain prior approval from the I&B Ministry.
Meanwhile, Information & Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi informed the Rajya Sabha that a committee has been constituted on October 3, 2005, to review the Programme Code and Advertising Code prescribed under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and rules framed there under. “This committee consists of representatives from film industry, music industry, broadcasting industry, concerned NGOs, experts and other stakeholders and would, inter alia, suggest ways for monitoring television channels. The Committee is yet to submit its report,” Dasmunsi stated.