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MHA wants to do away with security clearance procedure for MSOs

NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) intends to do away with the process of giving security clearance for multi-system operators (MSOs). However, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB), which is the licensing authority, is not too enthusiastic about the proposal.

The MHA was recently bombarded by the MIB with as many as 60 files on security clearance to MSOs, business daily Economic Times has reported.

According to the MHA, giving security clearance to MSOs is like vetting a real-estate company, which should be done away with. This, the MHA believes, will enhance the ‘ease of doing business’.

“We have asked the I&B Ministry to change its rules and not send any MSO clearances to the Home Ministry since the Intelligence Bureau is also overburdened,” the newspaper quoted a senior MHA official as saying.

While noting that the aim of giving security clearance was to prevent inflow of dirty money in the cable TV business, the official stated that it was for tax authorities or Enforcement Directorate to run checks and balances.

The paper further quoted an I&B Ministry official as saying that meetings have been scheduled with the home secretary in the coming days to sort out the matter.

“It is important that MSOs are monitored and cleared by a proper mechanism to avoid security lapses. It is necessary that the content be in local or cable telecast is not just cleared but also monitored. We have been repeatedly asking the MHA to simplify the mechanism of clearance but not reduce it so that problems don’t arise in future. They are, however, reluctant,” the I&B official said.

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Govt streamlines security clearance for TV channels, MSOs, CR stations