The information and broadcasting ministry on Friday revoked permission for simultaneous uplinking of 10 Zee network channels in Ku Band on GSAT-15 satellite and C Band. This means these channels will no longer be free-to-air.
Rival networks ABP, TV9 and Network 18 had approached the I&B ministry saying Zee illegally put nine of its news channels, national and regional, on DD Free Dish without participating in auctions and paying for the slots. They alleged that this undermined due process, increased Zee network’s reach by millions of viewers, pushed up its TRPs, and gave it an “unfair advantage”.
In April 2022, Doordarshan wrote to the Broadcast Audience Research Council for action against the Zee channels which hadn’t been allotted slots on the DD Free Dish by Prasar Bharati but were still available on free-to-air set top boxes.
In an order on Friday, the ministry finally removed permission for free-to-air telecast of 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.
The ministry pointed out that these news channels were “available on DD Free Dish because of proximity and colocation of transponders of both DD Free Dish and Dish TV on the same satellite, i.e. GSAT 15 Satellite and non-encryption of the signals by both of them”.
Zee Media Corporation Ltd, therefore, was in violation of the Policy Guidelines for Uplinking and the Policy Guidelines for Downlinking, the order noted, adding that it was revoking the permission “to provide a level playing field to all the stakeholders in the TV channel industry”.
Read our report detailing how Zee grew its regional viewership by ‘illegally’ appearing on DD Free Dish.
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