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Broadcasters seek PMO’s help on permissions, high processing fee

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The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) has written to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) seeing a revision of some of the policies of the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) including the levy of processing fee for temporary uplink of live events and the need for security clearances to start new channels.

IBF has said in a report to the PMO, seen by Hindustan Times, that delays in permissions to start new channels to ending the auction of free slots to private broadcasters on the DD FreeDish go against the very spirit of the ‘ease of doing business.’

The report, submitted last month, claims various operations of television channels including setting up of new channels despite valid permissions, change of name or logo, and change of teleport among others “have come to a complete halt”.

MIB did not respond to queries e-mailed on Monday.

IBF, according to information available on its website, was established in 1999 and has both news and non-news channels as its members and provides research-based legislative inputs to the government.

Highlighting the delay in operationalisation of channels, IBF sought a time limit of 6-8 weeks be stipulated for MHA to submit a report on the security clearance sought by the MIB.

IBF is also not happy with the MIB’s December 2017 order, introducing a processing fee per channel per day for temporary uplink of a live event of Rs. 50,000 for regional channels and Rs. 1 lakh for national channels.

IBF has also asked the PMO to direct the MIB to come out with an “objective policy” on allotting vacant slots on DD FreeDish to protect the interests of Prasar Bharti, the ministry’s broadcasting arm and the broadcasters interested in having their channels carried on DD FreeDish.

Earlier, vacant slots on DD FreeDish were allotted to private broadcasters through e-auctions, but the practice was put on hold in 2017 by the MIB. While the MIB has stated that the policy helped private broadcasters earn more money and did not benefit Prasar Bharati, IBF has countered the charge.

It has said that MIB’s statements, quoted in the media that private broadcasters earn between ~600-~700 crore per channel per year from their DD FreeDish slots “are without any basis and also do not take into account the costs incurred by broadcasters for creating content, infrastructural costs- satellite fees, uplinking costs, other fixed and variable costs.”

Source: Hindustan Times

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