Pvt TV Channels asked to broadcast ‘National Interest’ content for 30 Mins

The new government regulations mandate that most television networks run 30 minutes of "public service" programming on National Interest topics

TNI Bureau: In a recent update from the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, has instructed Private TV Channels across the nation to air 30 mins of “National Interest” content on a daily basis. The new government regulations mandate that most television networks run 30 minutes of “public service” programming on topics with broad public interest and social relevance. The MIB has also established a new category for “devotional” channels, which will be permitted to uplink live programming for free.

The Union Ministry announced Changes to regulations for stations that transmit from India (uplink) and those that transmit to Indian viewers through satellite (downlink). According to officials, the modifications were made to make conducting business easier and to make compliance obligations simpler.

Any organisation with authority to uplink and downlink a channel from and to India (aside from foreign channels), according to the guidelines, “may undertake public service broadcasting for a minimum length of 30 minutes in a day on issues of national importance and of social relevance.”

According to a government statement on the new regulations, the channels can adjust their broadcasting schedules to include such programmes. Exceptions only apply in cases where it is not practical, “such as in the case of sports networks.”

Programming on education and literacy promotion, agriculture and rural development, health and family welfare, science and technology, the welfare of women and the weaker segments of society, preservation of the environment and cultural heritage, and national integration can all be regarded as public service content.

The removal of the requirement for approval before events can be aired live on television was one of the other significant changes, but the government will still need to be notified of it.

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The modifications also announced a new classification for stations as “devotional channels” if they “predominantly transmit devotional/spiritual/yoga programming.” According to the 2011 regulations, there were only news and non-news channels.

According to sources, “The ministry is currently considering that there should be a different criterion for what constitutes a devotional channel and what its norms it would have to follow.” The ministry recently discussed the matter, and while it has a list of the channels it considers to be devotional; it will need to create a new category or subcategory inside the non-news channels.

These will be allowed to uplink live programming for free, unlike other non-news stations. While a regional channel will pay 50,000 per channel per day and a national non-news channel must pay 1 lakh per channel per day, respectively.

Since 2016, the number of viewers for devotional channels has increased, according to data gathered by the Broadcast Audience Research Council India (BARC).

The official continued, “Devotional channels will eventually be needed to register with the ministry and an advisory or guidelines for them will be developed for them.”

A second official with access to the facts said that although the government had the idea, the channels were not legally separated.

The new framework also permits channels to switch between languages without asking permission (only a simple notification is required), offers the option of uplinking from multiple teleports or satellites, and permits foreign channels to uplink from Indian teleports for downlinking outside of India, which was previously prohibited.

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