Thursday, Jul 24, 2003
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By Our Special Correspondent
Though the decision came just hours before the channel's fourth extension for temporary uplinking was to expire at midnight tonight, Star News' transmission will not be affected as it had secured a court stay restraining VSNL from switching off its signals in anticipation of such an eventuality.
The Ministry is likely to firm up its view on Star News' request for temporary uplinking, pending clearance of its application for permanent uplinking on Thursday. Star News has been managing with weekly extensions since June 26 when the three-month grace period offered to it by the revised uplinking policy expired.
It was only yesterday that the channel submitted a voluminous response to the Ministry's second set of comprehensive questions about Media Content and Communications Services (MCCS), the shell company floated by Star News to meet the requirements of the revised uplinking policy as per which foreign equity in news channels cannot be higher than 26 per cent.
According to officials, despite repeated queries since June 20 when Star News applied for uplinking permission for MCCS the channel was yet to clearly answer questions pertaining to who owns the channel and related issues. Also, the Ministry is not convinced that the wholly foreign-owned Star News does not have a stranglehold over MCCS.
As for permanent uplinking permission, officials said a decision would be taken in consultation with the inter-Ministerial group that has been set up after the Government decided on July 12 to review the satellite uplinking policy for the second time this year.
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