DD Free Dish came into the news when some channels from private networks found a loophole in Prasar Bharti’s auction system for gaining free viewership back in 2017. Several questions related to the matter were asked from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB).
The ministry recently answered all the important questions in a single statement clearing the matter for all the concerned parties/people. The statement comes directly from Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Information and Broadcasting.
He has answered questions such as if the government took the complaints on the matter seriously and, if it did, how did it address the issue. Read the answer provided by Javadekar below.
Non-Mandatory Requirement for Encryption of Signal the Issue
Javadekar said that the ministry received complaints regarding some channels getting views on the DD Free Dish Set-Top Box (STB) when they were not part of channels downlinkable from DD Free Dish through the auction process.
He said that the ministry had examined the complaints and the situation. Upon analysis of the issue, it was found that the situation occurred because of the co-location of the signals and non-mandatory requirement for encryption of signals of free-to-air (FTA) TV channels while being uplinked to a teleport.
Javadekar didn’t provide any details regarding the ‘loss’ that the exchequer had to face because of this incident. However, a tweet from Congress quoting Ghulam Nabi Azad, member of Rajya Sabha, in January made headlines saying the exchequer had to face crores of loss because of the issue. The tweet of Azad also mentioned that the private networks had done this on several occasions, and this was not the first time.
So while the amount is big, it can’t be specified at the moment. Further, Javadekar didn’t answer the question of measures that the government will be taking to collect the fees from the concerned private networks.
The statement from Javadekar suggests that the government is yet to decide on what its next move should be.