Regulators

I&B ministry stops broadcast and distribution of Mangalam and Whistle TV

The company has violated clause 5.4 & 5.8 of uplinking guidelines, 2011.

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Mumbai: The ministry of information and broadcasting vide its order dated 26 October whereby the broadcast of the channels Mangalam and Whistle TV permitted M/s. G.N. Infomedia is prohibited for a period of 30 days w.e.f under the extant policy guidelines for downlinking of private satellite TV channels in India, 2011.

According to Rule 6(6) of the Cable Television Network Rules 1994, no cable operator shall carry or include in his cable service any television broadcast or channel that has not been registered by the central government for viewing within the territory of India.

In a letter dated, 27 October 2010, MIB granted permission to M/S. GN Infomedia to uplink and downlink a news & current affairs TV channel, namely 'Mangalam' and a non-news and current affairs TV channel, namely 'Whistle TV' for a period of 10 years. The permission granted to G. N. Infomedia has already expired on 26 October 2020.

"In light of the foregoing, all MSOs/LCOs are directed not to carry the above-mentioned channel on their network during its prohibition period," MIB stated. "Failure to do so will result in appropriate/suitable action being initiated against the defaulter(s) in accordance with the relevant clause(s) of the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act, 1995 and rules framed thereunder."

The company, in response to the SCN's vide letter dated 19 January 2022 sought an extension of time.

Accordingly, the company was informed to apply for a 10-year renewal by 28 February 2022. However, the company did not apply within the prescribed time frame. Therefore, another SCN dated 14 March 2022 was issued to the company.

The company, in response to the letter dated 28 March 2022 again sought an extension of time. Accordingly, the company was informed to apply for a 10-year renewal by 31 July 2022 but the company, in response to SCN, has again sought an extension of time.

The company that got the permission renewed was required to apply for the same six months prior to the date of expiry of the permission period. However, the company has still not applied for a 10-year renewal for its two channels despite a considerable lapse of time.

The company has therefore violated clauses 5.4 & 5.8 of the uplinking guidelines, 2011.

Clause 5.4 of uplinking guidelines 2011, provides that "The Company shall furnish such information as may be required by the ministry of information & broadcasting, from time to time."

"The company shall ensure its continued eligibility as applicable throughout the period of permission and adhere to all the terms and conditions of the permission, failing which the company will be liable for a penalty as specified," according to clause 5.8 of uplinking guidelines 2011.

The TV channel Whistle TV is non-operational. Therefore, there is no provision in the uplinking guidelines that permits the channel to remain non-operational. Therefore, the company has violated clause 5.8 of the uplinking guidelines, 2011.

Further action will be taken for a period of 30 days with the direction to the company to pay outstanding dues and fulfil regulatory compliance, failing which further action will be taken.

However, if the company applies for a 10-year renewal for the two channels and takes necessary steps to remove the other violations of the policy guidelines for uplinking of TV channels in 2011, during the period of prohibition, the permission to the channel may be considered for restoration.

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