Satellite television

Guidelines for Uplink and Downlink of Satellite TV Channels in India, 2022

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (“MIBs”) Vide its notification of November 9, 2022 issued the Guidelines for Uplink and Downlink of Satellite TV Channels in India, 2022 (“Guidelines”). The guidelines aim to mitigate issues regarding the following:

  1. authorizations to corporations or limited liability companies (“LLP”) registered in India for the uplink and downlink of TV channels;
  2. setting up teleports or teleport hubs;
  3. the use of digital satellite news gathering (“DSNG”) or satellite information collection (“NSE”) or the collection of electronic information (“FR”) systems;
  4. uplink by Indian news agencies; and
  5. temporary uplink of a live event.

The guidelines require a company or LLP that wishes to set up a teleportation/teleportation hub to make an application on Broadcast Seva (“Gate”). Within 30 (thirty) days of receiving clearance and approval from the Ministry of Interior, and after ensuring that the applicant has met the eligibility requirements set out in the guidelines, the MIB is required to write a letter of intent requesting the company/LLP to pay the authorization fee for the first year, provide a performance bank guarantee (“PBG”) and a security deposit.

Within 15 (fifteen) days of receipt of such payment and provision of the PBG, the MIB may grant a 10 (ten) year license by written order, to the company/LLP for the establishment of the teleport. The MIB is also authorized to refuse the authorization for reasons recorded in writing. The applicant company/LLP that is authorized to set up the teleport may apply for the renewal of the authorization on the portal at least three months before the end of the month in which the initial authorization is due to expire.

The guidelines also provide similar procedures for companies or LLPs wishing to uplink TV channels, downlink satellite TV channels, and create a news agency to link to a TV channel.

In addition, the guidelines make the following entities eligible for the purchase and use of DSNG/SNG equipment:

  1. Company/LLP with MIB authorization to operate a teleport.
  2. Company/LLP authorized by the ministry to uplink a news channel.
  3. Company/LLP licensed by the ministry of a news agency.

Within 15 (fifteen) days of receipt of the request, the MIB grants the entity the authorization to purchase the equipment. However, the guidelines list various conditions that must be met by the applicant entity before that entity can obtain authorization from the MIB.

In addition, a news channel that receives authorization under these Guidelines may broadcast content using SNG/DSNG equipment authorized to it, or by renting such equipment from any other authorized entity. The news channel is required to register this equipment rental with the MIB on the Portal. On the other hand, an authorized channel other than news and current affairs, for the purpose of broadcasting a live event from India, may register on the Portal upon payment of the specified fee, at least 15 ( fifteen) days prior to the first date of a live event, and provide details and documentation such as date, time, location and name of event, channel/teleporter’s willingness to broadcast/ uplink the proposed programme/event, authorization from the event owner together with the dates and times of the proposed programme/event, detailed specifications of the ENG service used and, if applicable, a planning and coordination wing valid wireless (“WPC”) license issued to the teleport operator.

The guidelines set out the procedures to be adopted in the event that an entity intends to change the name or logo of a television channel or change satellite or teleport.

In addition, the guidelines state that a channel found guilty of broadcasting content which breaches the Program Code and the Advertising Code under the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act 1995 will be subject to prosecution. criminal. The guidelines then list the following criminal actions that can be taken against offenders:

  1. consultative, to be communicated in writing to the entity;
  2. warning, to be communicated in writing to the entity;
  3. a parchment of apologies, to be broadcast on the channel;
  4. a statement of apology to be read by the director/CEO of the entity on the channel;
  5. direct the channel off the air for a specified number of hours/days;
  6. suspend or revoke the authorization.

Finally, the Guidelines require that a company/LLP having clearance under the Guidelines for the uplink of a channel and its downlink in India (other than foreign channels only downlink in India) undertakes a broadcast of public service for a minimum period of 30 (thirty) minutes in a day on topics of national importance and social interest such as:

  1. education and dissemination of literacy;
  2. agriculture and rural development;
  3. family health and well-being;
  4. science and technology; and
  5. well-being of women, among many others.