Airing of 'national interest' content daily mandatory from January 1
The policy of mandating TV channels to air content of 'national interest' for 30 minutes every day is likely to come into effect from the beginning of 2023. The Centre earlier approved the Guidelines for Uplinking and Downlinking of Television Channels in India, 2022. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said that TV channels will be given time to conceptualize and produce such content.
Why does this story matter?
The rationale behind the guidelines regarding the telecast of national interest content is that airwaves are public property and should be used in society's interest. The guidelines were released earlier this month with the aim of turning India into an uplinking hub for other countries, meanwhile reducing compliance for TV stations. This policy will enable broadcast companies to uplink foreign channels from Indian teleports.
Around round of meetings before finalizing
The ministry officials held several rounds of meetings with the TV channels and other stakeholders, following which it is planning on setting the date of implementation to January 1, reported The Indian Express. Another round of meetings between all stakeholders is on the cards for finalizing the plan. The guidelines were first released in 2005 and last updated in 2011.
Sports, environment, and foreign channels exempt
Foreign channels only downlinked in India are exempt from these guidelines. Advisory relating to the time slot will be issued after discussions with broadcasters. The ministry will monitor channels for such content and will show-cause them on finding violations. Representatives of broadcasters said while airwaves are public property, they paid significant fees to access them, and guidelines affecting their business interests are questionable.
8 themes given for creating content
The channels have been given eight themes for creating content — education and spread of literacy; agriculture and rural development; health and family welfare; science and technology; women's welfare; welfare of the weaker sections of the society; protection of environment and cultural heritage; and national integration.