M A I N   N E W S

Changes in uplinking policy okayed
Cabinets allows FII investment up to 26 p.c. in news channels
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 20
In an obvious move to help Prasar Bharati, the Union Cabinet today approved changes in the uplinking policy under which sports channel and rights management companies having TV broadcasting rights should share their feed with the public broadcaster for cricket and other games held in India and abroad for terrestrial transmission and DTH broadcasting.

In a review of the uplinking policy, the Cabinet has decided that while in the case of other games, the new rule would apply to all future events, in the case of cricket, it would have a retrospective effect.

The events of national importance, for which the feed has to be shared, shall be determined by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry in consultation with the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, Prasar Bharati and the concerned sports channels or sports rights management companies.

In case of cricket events, these shall include all matches featuring India and the semi-finals of international competitions, Information and Broadcasting Minister Jaipal Reddy told newspersons after the Cabinet meeting.

The above conditions shall apply to all future events including those covered by existing contracts of broadcasting rights.

However, in case of cricket events whose broadcasting rights have been obtained by sports channels or rights management companies prior to the issue of the notification in the matter the rights holders will be obliged to share the feed for all matches featuring India and finals of international competitions.

Prasar Bharti shall transmit the feed, free to air, on its terrestrial channel and carried through the terrestrial network or the satellite or DTH mode.

The marketing of the events' rights (terrestrial as well as satellite/DTH) will be decided through mutual negotiations between Prasar Bharti and the rights holder. The marketing rights should go to the party which offers to maximise the revenue, the Minister said.

The Cabinet also allowed Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) to invest upto 26 per cent in news and current affairs channels.

The Cabinet also allowed TV channels and teleports to uplink in Ku-Band through Indian satellites with the condition that this permission is not used to run or operate DTH service without proper license.

Till now, 26 per cent paid up equity was allowed in news and currents affairs channels only for foreign direct investment (FDI) and NRI investment. Banks and FIIs were not permitted to make such investments.

"As in the case of print media, the overall ceiling on foreign investment remains at 26 per cent but it could be in the form of FDI, OCBs or FII. The foreign investment pattern has been made fungible," Mr Reddy said.

Foreign news channels which used to be given event-wise permission for uplinking from India, would now be given one year permission for uplinking.

"While calculating foreign equity of the applicant company, the foreign holding component, if any, in the equity of the Indian shareholder companies of the applicant company will be duly reckoned on pro-rata basis, so as to arrive at the total foreign holding in the applicant company. However, indirect FII equity in a company as on March 31 of the year would be taken for the purposes of pro-rata reckoning of foreign holdings," an official statement issued after the Cabinet meeting said.

The Cabinet has stipulated that no television channel shall carry a live broadcast of whole or part of any event so notified by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting unless simultaneously Prasar Bharati has also been offered the terrestrial and DTH broadcasting rights for the same event on reasonable terms and conditions mutually agreed upon.

Mr Reddy said the Cabinet also gave its approval for introduction of downlinking guidelines. "The guidelines will provide better regulation of satellite TV channels uplinked from abroad and down linked in India especially to address concerns over content.

"It will also provide a mechanism to check the antecedents and to verify legitimacy of the owners/distributors of the channels being downlinked in India to enable to enable to determine the suitability of the programme being seen by the Indian public," the statement said.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet deferred a decision on formation of four subsidiaries of Air India, Indian Airlines and Airports Authority of India as the issue has not been referred to a Group of Ministers.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |