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May 2018

ISRO STALLS CHANNELS ON FOREIGN SATELLITE



Press reports indicate that ISRO has decided to harass satellite channels that are currently on non- ISRO satellites.


ISRO WITHHOLDS OK

As per current procedure, broadcasters need to submit applications not only for starting a new satellite channel, but even for changes of logo, change of Channel name, adding a language feed etc.

These applications are submitted to the I&B ministry who circulates them to other ministries and the Department of Space (DoS), for their "No Objection."


APPROVALS STALLED

Over the last 3 months, any broadcaster currently on a foreign satellite who has applied for a new license or a change in its existing license, has not received an OK from the Department of Space (DoS). Instead they have reportedly received explicit communication that they need to move to an ISRO Satellite.

This is contrary to the law which permits Indian broadcasters to independently select & negotiate for C band transponders.

Apparently, Star India's application to convert Channel V into Star Sports Kannada has not received a "No Objection" stamp from DoS.

The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) has submitted a written complaint to the Minister of State for Space - Jitendra Singh and also to the I&B minister Ms. Smriti Irani.


568 Out Of 724 Channels Are On Foreign Satellites





ONLY 20% ON ISRO SATS

Out of 724 active, C-Band downlinked licensed satellite channels, only 156 are on Indian satellites.

568 channels are downlinked via foreign satellites like Intelsat, Asiasat, Measat, Apstar and others.


IBF VIEWS

Punit Goenka, IBF President, claimed that capacity on INSAT 4A is fully used while ISRO's other satellites lack quality teleports. "The capacity that ISRO is offering to broadcasters on GSAT-10 and GSAT-17 have no concomitant approved teleports," he told the press.

"Such a move would concurrently result in financial and litigating circumstances for the sector, especially for all those networks which have an ongoing contract with the foreign satellites," said Goenka who is also Managing Director at Zee Entertainment. He claimed such stipulations are "non-existent" in any other country and "go against the very principle of making India a hub for media, teleports and inexpensive uplinks."

Goenka said ISRO's insistence has resulted in pendency for many channels getting operationalised, inhibiting growth of the sector.


ISRO'S GUARDED STATEMENT

K Sethuraman, director at ISRO, told the press that DoS has spent a lot of taxpayers' money to build satellites and thus there is nothing wrong in directing broadcasters to use these satellites. But he refused to comment on whether or not ISRO is denying any permission to broadcasters.

Indian Broadcasting Foundation plans to initiate a dialogue with I&B ministry and Ministry of Space to find an amicable solution. n