Concerned over the growing number of television channels, with many being run by fly by night operators, the Ministry for Information and Broadcasting has sought Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (TRAI) views on regulating the entry of new channels.
Reliable sources in the ministry on Friday said I&B minister Ambika Soni has written to TRAI chairman J S Sarma recently, seeking his views on whether rules related to up-linking and down-linking of television channels need to be reviewed to make them more stringent.
With the telecom ministry preparing to start the process of 3G spectrum auction for operators before this year end, the I&B ministry is getting applications for starting new TV channels virtually on a daily basis even as there are already 500 channels on air.
In this background, Soni has sought TRAI's views on how to regulate entry of so many channels, sources said.
"The minister's main concern is that of the many channels that crop up, several of them discontinue their services after some time, thus rendering many people jobless.
"Also the minister has received complaints from several MPs and ministers that many regional channels issue threats to them and indulge in blackmailing tactics. In such a scenario what can be done to screen credentials of applicants is being thought of by the ministry," a top ministry official said.
Bandwidth availability is very limited and as government would be auctioning it for 3G spectrum, the I&B ministry wants to seek TRAI's views streamlining rules to regulate entry of new channels, thus allowing judicious usage of bandwidth.