Zee angry over new channel halt
Written by Rose Major
Monday, 01 February 2010 20:03

Indian broadcaster Zee TV is angry over the government’s decision to suspend the permission process for uplinking TV channels in the country, over which the government cited concerns on capacity.

Zee argues that neither the government nor the Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) have any place in decisions over how many channels broadcast in India.

An Essel Group (Zee’s parent) spokesperson was quoted by local newspaper The Financial Express, saying “We do not believe that even the basic premise of various issues raised by I&B ministry is valid i.e. that the Trai or the I&B can determine the number of channels which can be licensed in India. They have no such right to determine, limit or control the number of channels…This would be similar to restricting the licence for a newspaper based on the premise that sufficient newsprint is not produced or available in the country.”

India already has some 500 TV channels broadcasting, with about 160 waiting for permission from the govermnent to start uplinking. Zee argues that should restrictions be put on how many channels can uplink, broadcasters will merely move their operations elsewhere in the region, and beam into India from outside.

Other players in the sector, including teleport operators, have also criticised the government’s halting of the permission process, arguing that there is capacity available for new channels so the process being stopped is unnecessary.