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Foreign broadcasters to be kept off Indian skies

01-August-2005
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Foreign broadcasters to be kept off Indian skies

Only channels owned 74% by Indians can uplink from India.

Things could get tough for foreign news broadcasters that uplink from outside India. The downlinking policy, which is on the anvil, proposes to ban them from airing content as well as advertising meant for India.

Only channels owned 74 per cent by Indians can uplink from India. CNN, BBC, Bloomberg TV and Euronews will be at the receiving end of the proposed policy.

Any foreign news channel aired in India, as per the policy, will have to be a standard international feed and should not be designed specifically for India.

This policy proposal will now be considered by a group of ministers, headed by Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

In addition, international channels that want to beam to India, will have to take permission from the regulatory authority of countries they belong to.

There is also a proposal for a system of registration for them with the Indian government and setting up of an office in India or entering into an agreement with a local company.

Besides, channels beaming to India also have to have a minimum net worth of Rs 1.5 crore and another Rs 1 crore net worth for every additional channel.

Channels that do not conform to these norms will not be allowed on cable and other television channel distribution networks like direct-to-home or broadband networks. Officials said this was required to ensure that channels followed Indian laws.

Currently, cable network companies can distribute channels that are not registered in India. This has led to the information and broadcasting ministry coming out from time to time with specific directions to cable companies to block channels that do not conform to norms.

Another important part of the proposed downlinking policy will be that private television channels have to share the feed of events of national importance with Prasar Bharati.

As per a proposed legislation, the government will list events of national importance, which the broadcast right owners will have to share with Prasar Bharati.

The downlinking policy is also expected to make mandatory for television channels offering of the feed to all networks, including direct-to-home, on a non-discriminatory basis. This has been done to ensure that channels provide signals to platforms belonging to competitors and do not block services to them.

CHANNEL BLOCK --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CNN, BBC, Bloomberg TV and Euronews will be at the receiving end of the new downlinking policy

Foreign news channels will have to air a standard international feed

Channels beaming to India should have a minimum net worth of Rs 1.5 crore

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