The Information & Broadcasting Minister has come out with the invitation for seeking permission to downlink a television channel and registration of a television channel in India, application form for which is available on the Ministry’s website.
Under the new Downlinking guidelines declared by the government on November 11, 2005, all foreign channels need government clearance to be downlinked in India for public viewing. Foreign channels, which are already on air in India, have to comply with the new norms within 180 days from the date of issue of the guidelines.
The I&B Ministry shall grant registration to each channel for an initial period of five years. The applicant company shall pay registration fee of Rs 5 lakh for each channel, which will be payable for the initial registration for a period of five years. In addition, every company will pay an amount of Rs 1.5 lakh per channel per annum as the annual fee.
Primarily, the broadcasting company has to be registered in India under the Indian Companies Act and should have commercial presence in the country. The company should also have a minimum net worth of Rs 1.5 crore for downlinking one channel in India and for every additional channel, this would go up by Rs 1 crore. It should also keep a 90-day record of the content it is airing into the country. For any upgradation or expansion, the company has to obtain prior approval of the I&B Ministry.
Provisions like mandatory sharing of ‘sports content of national importance’ have drawn resistance from private sports channels and Ten Sports has been fighting cases against the Ministry on this issue.