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India forcing b’casters to uplink from India hub

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NEW DELHI — Indian information and broadcasting minister Sushma Swaraj said Thursday that a pending broadcasting bill will be enacted into law during the winter session of the Indian parliament in November.

The minister added that all international channels beaming into India will have to uplink to satellites from India after November. International broadcasters would be compelled thereafter to uplink from India. The move is aimed at making India a hub for satellite uplinking.

The Indian Overseas Communication department would charge Indian broadcasters an annual uplinking fee of $15,000.

Swaraj, who also heads the communications ministry, said eight Indian broadcasters would start uplinking from India via VSNL in the next few days.

She added that foreign equity in TV programming companies, not directly related to broadcasting, will be capped at 74%. Swaraj said she favors 100% foreign equity in ad agencies.

The Foreign Investment Promotion Board has been keeping on hold several media proposals, pending a policy guideline from the Indian Information & Broadcasting ministry.

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