The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (‘MIB’) has on November 9, 2022, introduced Guidelines for Uplinking and Downlinking of Satellite Television Channels in India, 2022, (‘Guidelines’). The Guidelines govern the grant of approvals for the uplinking and downlinking of television channels, setting-up of teleports/teleports hub and a news agency for uplinking to a television channel; and use of Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG), Satellite News Gathering (SNG), and Electronic News Gathering (ENG) systems. The Guidelines will now govern all new approvals as well as all existing approvals under the erstwhile uplinking guidelines and downlinking guidelines.
Approvals will be granted by the MIB within 30 days of it receiving clearance and approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs and other authorities, and upon the applicant completing the necessary requirements including payment of permission fees and submission of bank guarantees and security deposits. Approvals will be granted for a period of 10 (ten)years, other than for news agencies, which will be granted for a period of 5 (five) years.
Key changes to the erstwhile regulations introduced through the Guidelines include: (i) permitting limited liability partnerships to also apply for such approvals; (ii) removal of the prior permission requirements for temporary uplinking of live non-news and current affairs events, as long as a prior registration process is completed; (iii) permitting post facto security clearance for emergency changes to directors/partners, where the approval holder only has two directors/partners; and (iv) permitting uplinking of foreign channels owned by a foreign entity to be downlinked and viewed outside India from Indian teleports, with the requisite clearances from the MIB and various ministries.
The Guidelines also provide that an approval holder may be required, in the public interest, to undertake a public service broadcasting, every day, for 30 minutes on themes of national importance and social relevance.