MIB said: “In response to request received from various quarters with reference to this Public Notice dated 15.01.2020 and its letter of even number dated 21.01.2020 and 10.02.2020 respectively on the subject cited above, this ministry has decided to extend the time by one month i.e. by 17th March, 2020 for furnishing suggestions/feedback/comments/inputs/views on the proposed amendments.”
The I&B Ministry is bringing in a slew of amendments to the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 through the draft Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020.
The biggest amendment being brought by the ministry is to prevent state governments or their entities as well as religious and political parties from entering the TV distribution space. It is pertinent to note that the MIB has granted provision DAS licence to Tamil Nadu government-owned Arasu Cable TV Corporation.
In the clause for registration as a cable operator, a negative list has been inserted. The negative list includes state governments and its entities, urban and local bodies, political and religious bodies will neither be granted registration nor will their registration be renewed.
The clause 4(1) now reads as follows: “Registration as cable operator–(1) Any person who is desirous of operating or is operating a cable television network may apply for registration or renewal of registration, as a cable operator to the registering authority”.
“Provided that such a registration or renewal of registration shall not be granted to the State Governments, urban and local bodies, political and religious bodies, State Government Departments, State Government-owned companies, State Government undertakings, Joint ventures of the State Government and the private sector and State Government funded entities.
In 2012, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had issued recommendations to prevent the entry of state governments, political and religious bodies into the business of broadcasting and/or distribution of TV channels.