The Centre has issued an advisory asking Union ministries, state governments and union territory administrations not to enter into any broadcasting or distribution of broadcasting activities directly.
In the advisory, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting asked those broadcasting their content to route it through Prasar Bharati. It also asked entities distributing the broadcasting content to “extract themselves” from it by December 31, 2023.
The advisory is likely to impact Kalvi TV, an educational channel launched by the Tamil Nadu government which is available on some DTH platforms, and IPTV, launched by the Andhra Pradesh government.
“No Ministry/Department of the Central Government and State/UT Governments and entities related to them shall enter into broadcasting/distribution of broadcasting activities in future,” said the advisory issued on Friday.
“ln case Ministries of Central Government, State/UT Government and entities related to them are already broadcasting their content, it shall be done through the Public Broadcaster,” it said.
“ln case Ministries of Central Government, State/UT Government and entities related to them are already distributing the broadcasting content, they will be required to extract themselves from the distribution activities,” it stated.
Entry No. 31 in List I (Union List) of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India covers “posts and telegraphs, telephones, wireless, broadcasting and other like forms of communication”.
Only the central government, as per Article 246 of the Constitution, can legislate on such subjects, the advisory said.
In 2012, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), which is also the broadcast regulator, had suggested that the central and state governments, their companies, undertakings, joint ventures with the private sector and entities funded by the governments should not be allowed to enter the business of broadcasting.
The advisory noted that the TRAI’s recommendations have been considered by the I&B Ministry.
The existing operational broadcasts in respect of some of the central government ministries and departments, and some state governments have already been brought under the ambit of Prasar Bharati through a Memorandum of Understanding to ensure the continuity of such societal initiatives, it said.
The entry of central and state governments and UT administrations into the business of broadcast for educational purposes should be done through suitable agreements between Prasar Bharati and the concerned governments, it said.
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