The Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry has no role in the commercial agreement between the Multi-System Operator (MSO) and the broadcaster, Information & Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar informed the Lok Sabha on 20 March.
Javadekar was responding to a question put forth by TDP MP Shri Jayadev Galla. The TDP MP had asked the government as to whether it was aware of the fact that TV5 and ABN Andhra Jyothi, popular TV channels in Andhra Pradesh, had approached TDSAT for the restoration of their airing which was banned by the Government of Andhra Pradesh and if so, the reaction of the Government thereto.
Galla also asked if it was true that in spite of TDSAT’s direction to restore TV5 and ABN Andhra Jyothi services, some cable networks have still not restored ABN Andhra Jyothi and if so whether the Government had taken any steps to ensure restoration of ABN Andhra Jyothi without any further delay.
Javadekar informed the Parliament that the MSOs carry permitted satellite TV channels on their network as per the commercial agreement with the broadcaster. He further stated that the commercial agreement was governed by the interconnect agreement executed by the broadcaster and the Multi-System operator in which the Ministry has no role.
Both channels had in June been banned from entering the Andhra Pradesh legislature building for live coverage. Both channels were later on in September pulled off the air by many cable operators in Andhra Pradesh following which they moved TDSAT.
While TV5 managed to get back on air on most of the cable operators, ABN Andhra Jyothi still remains off air on certain cables. The pending matters were to be heard by the TDSAT early April but now will be delayed due to lockdown surrounding COVID-19.