Even as news channels are busy with coverage of the Counting Day, a fresh issue has arisen regarding violation of Telecom Regulation Authority of India’s (TRAI) regulation. In letters to TRAI, some leading news broadcasters have alleged that Hindi news channel Aaj Tak is airing on two LCNs – on its own frequency as well as on the frequency allotted to Tez News.
This violates TRAI’s Telecommunication (Broadcasting & Cable Services) Interconnection (Digital Addressable Cable Television Systems) Regulations 2012, as well as TRAI’s directives issued in its press release dated May 31, 2017 on ‘Listing of TV channels on Electronic Programme Guide’.
The Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) allows cable TV service providers to arrange and display channels genre-wise. In terms of extant regulatory framework, every broadcaster is required to declare the genre of its channel and multi system operators (MSOs) carrying a channel on its network, have been mandated to place that channel in the genre so declared by the broadcaster of that channel. In its May 31, 2017 release TRAI had stated that it had observed that several MSOs were placing some channels at more than one LCN under multiple genres simultaneously. The regulator directed the MSOs to strictly comply with the extant regulatory framework, failing which action would be taken against them as per provisions of the TRAI Act, 1997.
The broadcasters pointed out that airing on dual LCN also violated the licence terms of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB), which requires broadcasters to clearly mention the channel’s name, the genre as well as satellite placement terms.
The irony is not lost in that not long ago, some broadcasters had complained to TRAI regarding Republic violating the dual LCN rule.―Adgully