July 7, 2017
In a relief measure to local cable operators, the Government of Nepal (GoN) is rethinking on implementing the ‘clean feed policy’ it has planned for roll-out on July 16, 2017.
In this regard, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MOIC), GoN admitted that it’s not in a position to implement the policy as planned, and plans to go with a phase-wise implementation. The government doesn’t have enough technical manpower to regulate the policy, says Mahendra Man Gurung, MoIC Secretary.
The government’s decision to take a back step comes in the light of contention over rolling out of new rules for foreign channels.
While the Mass Communication Policy 2016 calls for barring of foreign advertisements in TV channels under the policy, both recorded and live, the Indian broadcasters refuse to develop separate ads for Nepal.
It is noteworthy that more than 90% of the total 200 channels available for subscription in Nepal are Indian channels that transmit foreign ads. The policy requires these channels to be either ad-free or broadcast Nepali content.
The local cable operators feel that the decision to implement the policy as planned will hit their revenue and business, as a whole.
“Shouldn’t these discussions have been held before deciding to introduce the policy?” asks Dhurba Sharma, chief of Digital System Nepal — the local dealer of Indian television channels such as Sony, ZEE and Colors.
As the policy is focused on digitalization of TV broadcasting in Nepal, the dealer feels it should be rolled out only after the intention is achieved.
Whereas, local ad agencies, the major benefactors of the policy, are hopeful of doubling their annual revenues, currently at Rs 5-6 billion, through the policy implementation. They feel that the policy would also contribute to the promotion of native culture and lifestyle.