February 2018


No significant TRAI recommendation has been adopted by the I&B ministry, for a decade.

Almost every TRAI order has been stalled by broadcasters going to court.

Even courts have delayed their orders on crucial judgements, for months.

The Parliament Standing Committee on Information Technology (SCIT), has assumed a proactive role & is trying hard to break this induced policy paralysis. Refreshingly, it has raised hard hitting questions, and called for long overdue action by the MIB & the DoT.

MIB's failures & policy paralysis on DAS, restriction of monopolies and cross media stakes & curbs on excessive ads on pay channels are some of the issues pointed out by the SCIT.

The SCIT has also asked for the TRAI's powers to be enhanced to make it an effective broadcast regulator, or establish a new regulator.

To provide the SCIT's observations and recommendations much deserved visibility, we have carried these as 4 separate cover feature stories this month.

The SCIT has representatives from all political parties & includes Rajya Sabha member & industry stalwart - Subhash Chandra. For the sake of our industry, let's hope the SCIT can wake up the MIB, who continues to pat itself on its back for incomplete tasks.

The MIB has stopped issuing Satellite downlink licenses and is mulling auctioning TV channel licenses, rather than granting them against request to qualified parties. If auctioned, it will hand over media control into the hands of large corporates and wealthy individuals... certainly not a desirable policy path in a democracy.

The Department of Space is now rejecting requests for new or even changes in existing downlink licenses, unless broadcasters shift their C band transponders to ISRO satellites. This may not withstand the scrutiny of law & is also against government's policy to do away with restrictive practices & our license raj legacy.