Zee Media takes on Govt, moves Delhi HC against I&B MInistry
Zee Media Corporation Ltd (ZMCL) has filed a petition in the Delhi High Court against the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB), following the withdrawal of approval given to Zee Media by MIB for simultaneous uplinking of its 10 TV channels in Ku Band on GSAT-15 Satellite through the teleport of Dish TV India Ltd.
According to the MIB order, ZEE Media was violating clause 5.1 of the uplinking guidelines and clause 5.6 of downlinking guidelines. The broadcaster had taken dual transmission approval for uplinking both in Ku-Band and C band, and due to their co-location, they got the advantage to be on DD Free Dish without paying for the huge auction fee other broadcasters were paying to be on. Uplinking and downlinking of private satellite TV channels in India are governed by the 2011 policy guidelines issued by Ministry.
According to the government, the presence of these ten channels of Zee Media were causing a loss of around Rs 100 crore a year to the exchequer, along with loss of viewership and revenue for the smaller regional broadcasters, as they were being broadcast without paying the auction and license fee to Prasar Bharati that conducts annual auction for DD Freedish slot.
Approval given to Zee Media to uplink in Ku-Band revoked
MIB has delivered justice, say small broadcasters on simultaneous uplinking order
In April this year, Doordarshan authorities had written to BARC India to take action against these channels, which were available on FTA set-top boxes even though they were not allotted slots on DD Free Dish by Prasar Bharati. This step was taken after some leading news broadcasters had approached the MIB, claiming that it gave Zee an “unfair advantage.”
These broadcasters had alleged that the availability of Zee’s regional news channels on DD Free Dish had an “adverse impact on other regional news channels, loss of revenue to Prasar Bharati and violation of law”.
A hearing was held in this case in Delhi HC today (September 28, 2022), wherein the Court directed the matter to be listed in the Divisional Bench where another PIL on the same is listed. The next hearing in this case will be on October 6, 2022.
Uplinking and downlinking of private satellite TV channels in India are governed by the 2011 policy guidelines issued by the MIB.
The 10 regional news channels of Zee Media in question, include Zee Hindustan, Zee Rajasthan, Zee Punjab Haryana Himachal, Zee Bihar Jharkhand, Zee Madhya Pradesh Chhattisgarh, Zee Uttar Pradesh Uttarakhand, Zee Salam, Zee 24 Kalak, Zee 24 Taas and Zee Odisha (Zee Delhi NCR Haryana).