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New Guidelines: Airing 30 minutes of ‘national interest’ content daily made mandatory for TV channels

New Guidelines: Airing 30 minutes of ‘national interest’ content daily made mandatory for TV channels

By Sanjay Maurya

The central government has approved new guidelines making it mandatory for TV channels to broadcast content of national interest and public importance. However, the ministry has clarified that these obligations will not apply to sports, wildlife, and foreign channels.

The guidelines for the uplinking and downlinking of TV channels were finally approved by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting yesterday (November 9) after 11 years. The rules were first issued in 2005 and revised in 2011. According to reports, the Guidelines allow limited liability partnerships and companies to allow uplinking of foreign channels from Indian teleports for beaming content in countries covered by the satellite footprint.

Under the new guidelines, at least 30 minutes every day has to be given for telecasting programs related to  public importance and national interest. The channels have been given eight themes to create such content. According to the government, the rationale behind the move is that airwaves are public property and need to be used in the best interest of society.

Among themes of national interest, the guideline mentions the following:

  • Education and the spread of literacy
  • Agriculture and rural development
  • Health and family welfare
  • Science and technology
  • The welfare of women
  • The welfare of the weaker sections of the society
  • Protection of the environment and cultural heritage and national integration

Information and Broadcasting Secretary Apurva Chandra said, “It is not that the government will give any program to television channels for broadcast under public interest content. Channels are free to make their content on the topics mentioned in the guidelines.”

Talking about the timing of telecast of the content in the national interest, the official said that they are working on that. According to reports, the guidelines are already effective from November 9. However, channels will have some time to conceptualize such content.

The new guidelines have several advantages, for example, under the guidelines, LLP companies will be allowed to uplink foreign channels from Indian teleport which will create employment opportunities and make India a teleport hub for other countries.It is also important to note that currently, only 30 channels are uplinked from India out of the entire 897 registered with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

The ‘Guidelines for Uplinking and Downlinking of Television Channels in India, 2022’also grant permission for a news agency for a five-year period against one year at present.

Read more about “Guidelines for Uplinking and Downlinking of Satellite Television Channels in India, 2022”here.

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