The I&B ministry has slapped show cause notices on 38 broadcasters for not intimating it of the changes in their shareholding pattern or on the board of directors as mandated.
Of the 38 broadcasting companies to whom the notices have been sent, 32 had made changes in their share holding pattern without prior intimation to the ministry while 6 had not informed of the changes made on the board of directors.
Officials said that for over an year, the ministry has been engaged in a comprehensive exercise of verifying the ownership and directorship details of all the broadcasting companies that held licenses for running channels.
As a result of this drive, the permissions for at least 61 channels, which did not fulfill the licensing conditions, have been cancelled by the ministry or have been surrendered by the companies themselves, officials said.
There are 877 registered TV channels out of which 61 could not withstand the Scrutiny of the ministry. Their licenses have been cancelled leaving 806 operational channels. Out of this 408 are non news and 398 fall in the news and current affairs category.
Many of the channels whose permission has been cancelled were regional channels or new entrants who did not even start their transmissions or meet the licensing conditions.
All the 877 channels are owned by 368 companies. 285 companies responded to ministry’s notice while the remaining 75 were sent reminders to share details of their shareholding pattern and changes made on the board of directors.
As the ministry went about examining the details of each broadcasting company, it was found that several channels which were not functional even after an year of being granted permission.
The permissions of these channels were either cancelled or surrendered. Among the companies which wrote back to the ministry, 25 declared changes in the shareholding pattern and 9 about changes in the board of directors.
Replies from 38 companies which had not made these changes before informing the ministry as per norms are still awaited.