Source: The Rising Nepal
Kathmandu, June 19 - Ministry of Information and Communications Friday unveiled its one-year’s progress report, which includes the policy level reform and the initiation of new programmes.
The ministry has made fourth amendment to National Broadcasting Regulation, which will control the ease of access of foreign channels in the Nepalese sky and stop revenue going outside.
The new legal provision allowed the ministry to bring in ‘Direct to Home’ (DTH) system for the first time in Nepal. As per this,
the consumers will have direct access to foreign channels via satellite. Till now, the consumers have been watching foreign channels through cable networks.
In the new system, the customers could select the channels and pay only for those which they want to watch.
"To get license to broadcast channels via DTH, the aspirant company should get permission to downlink, uplink and distribute at least 60 channels," said Sushil Ghimire, secretary at the ministry.
Ghimire said that the government would receive millions of rupees in revenue from the new provision.
He informed that seven companies won licenses for the operation of DTH system.
The amended regulation has also increased the license fee of FM radios. As per which, they need to pay the bigger amount of either 2 per cent of total revenues or 10 per cent of total annual profit. Earlier, they were paying 110 per cent of royalties.
Another policy level decision has it that broadcasting institution could not get the license of more than one FM radio. It could not install the FM having capacity of more than 100kw and do networking with other FMs to broadcast the news.
The new programmes the ministry launched last year include providing welfare advertisement to electronic media, setting up welfare funds for the journalists victimized by conflict, cash honour to senior journalists and setting up district level communications mechanisms.
The mechanisms to be formed in all 75 districts will include one woman journalist each from all districts.
Speaking at the function, Minister for Information and Communication Shankar Pokharel said that the institutional capacity of the country was weak.
"Development could not happen overnight and the programmes and policies should be given continuity," he said.
He noted that during his one year term the ministry carried out a number of legal reforms and met targets in several areas, which he said, would take the development of information and communication into new height.
He said that Nepal Telecom had become financially independent and carried out its infrastructure works on its own.
The telephone density has reached 28 per cent from the targeted 25 per cent during the three year interim plan.
Pokharel said the Telecom contributed the biggest revenue to the national coffer while Nepal Sky, a private company, was becoming the second revenue contributor.
We are planning to spread optical fiber in every district and works have begun to prepare a modality for this.
He informed that legal reforms had been carried out to turn Gorkhapatra Corporation into a company and bring out its regional publications.
We have proposed with the Finance Ministry for the financial assistance, he said.
Secretary Ghimire said the ministry was bringing a new broadband policy to upgrade internet services and set a portal at the Information Department to provide useful and welfare information to the public.