As per IBF, various operations of television channels including setting up of new channels despite valid permissions or change of name or logo, and change of teleport among others “have come to a complete halt”.
IBF wrote in the letter to PMO that delays in permissions to start new channels to ending the auction of free slots to private broadcasters on the DD FreeDish go against the very spirit of the ‘ease of doing business.’
The group submitted the letter at the PMO in April 2018.
The IBF highlighted the delay in operationalisation of channels, and sought a time limit of 6-8 weeks be stipulated for MHA to submit a report on the security clearance sought by the MIB.
IBF is also not happy with the MIB’s December 2017 order, introducing a processing fee per channel per day for temporary uplink of a live event of Rs. 50,000 for regional channels and Rs. 1 lakh for national channels.
IBF has also asked the PMO to direct the MIB to come out with an “objective policy” on allotting vacant slots on DD FreeDish to protect the interests of Prasar Bharti, the ministry’s broadcasting arm and the broadcasters interested in having their channels carried on DD FreeDish.
Earlier, vacant slots on DD FreeDish were allotted to private broadcasters through e-auctions, but the practice was put on hold in 2017 by the MIB. While the MIB has stated that the policy helped private broadcasters earn more money and did not benefit Prasar Bharati, IBF has countered the charge.
It has said that MIB’s statements, quoted in the media that private broadcasters earn between Rs. 600-Rs. 700 crore per channel per year from their DD FreeDish slots “are without any basis and also do not take into account the costs incurred by broadcasters for creating content, infrastructural costs- satellite fees, uplinking costs, other fixed and variable costs.”