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Existing broadcasters need no security clearance for new channels: MHA

MUMBAI: In a major relief for the
broadcasters, the Ministry of Home
Affairs (MHA) has clarified to the
Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF)
that there is no requirement for
existing broadcasters to take fresh
security clearance for launching new
The IBF had written to the MHA
seeking clarity on the validity of
security clearance, security clearance
for additional channels, disposal of
applications in a time-bound manner,
and renewal of permission.
According to the MHA clarification
received by the IBF, when a company
that has already been security-
cleared applies for additional channel
licences, the Ministry of Information
& Broadcasting (MIB) need not send
such applications to the MHA for fresh
security clearance, provided the
applicant company’s security
clearance is within the validity period
of 10 years.
The MHA has also clarified that the
security clearance of a company, its
board of directors, and the
permissions/licences should be valid
for a period of 10 years.
It must be noted here that the MHA
under the United Progressive Alliance
(UPA) regime had in January 2014
fulfilled a key demand of broadcasters
by making security clearance co-
terminus with licence period, which is
10 years.
“The IBF had made a representation
to the MHA and the MIB that the
security clearance must be valid for
10 years and there shouldn’t be any
requirement for additional channels
by an existing broadcaster. The MHA
has accepted both the demands of the
IBF,” said a source close to the
Currently, there is no requirement
for security clearance for new
channel launches by an existing
broadcaster. “There was a cautionary
note from the MHA that for every
channel there will be a requirement to
take security clearance but it was
never put on paper as it was a
deliberation between the MHA and the
MIB,” said a senior legal executive of
a leading broadcast network.
The IBF in its representation recently
to the MHA and the MIB had requested
the government to come out with a
comprehensive and a transparent
process ensuring clearance of
applications in a time-bound manner.
The foundation said that the
application process currently in vogue
involves voluminous documentation
and the same has to go through
various ministries with no clear-cut
It also contended that frequency of
the security clearance should not be
brought back from 10 to three years
as it would lead to complete chaos and
mounting backlog both in the MIB and
in the MHA. The inordinate delay
would adversely affect the operations
and the growth of the sector, it
“The delay in granting security
clearance has significant financial
implications. Not only does the
investment made in the infrastructure
remain idle, but the entity has to
incur substantial bandwidth/
transponder cost as it has to hire the
transponders before submitting the
application for grant of permission,”
the IBF had said in its representation.
On the IBF’s demand that security
clearance be granted preferably
within two months, the MHA said that
it has always endeavoured to clear
the pending proposals in a timely

Existing broadcasters need no security clearance for new channels: MHA

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