According to the S. L. Narayanan, Chief Financial Officer of the Sun Group, the group has not received any formal communication yet either from the MHA or the MIB regarding the decision of not giving security clearances to 33 channels of the Sun Network. Earlier in March, clearance had been denied for the group’s FM radio channels as well.
“There has been no formal communication from the Ministry till date. We read reports in newspapers that may or may not be true. I am really disillusioned by the way this ordeal has played out in the media glare, creating so much uncertainty on the company’s future and undermining investor confidence,” said the CFO.
However, with differences in opinion between the MHA and MIB regarding security clearance, now it seems that the scheduled third phase of FM auctions which were to be scheduled to take place soon could be delayed with the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) ministry seeking further consultation with the ministry of home affairs (MHA) on the issue of denial of security clearance to Sun TV Network.
According to an official of I&B, all technical clearances with regard to the upcoming auctions, which was scheduled for early this month may be delayed as security issues are yet to be resolved with respect to the Sun TV Network.
In the first phase of the auctions, 135 channels in 69 cities were up for sale, after which the auctions were supposed to be held for slots in smaller cities. I&B ministry has finished all processes related to the FM auctions but is waiting for the Sun matter to be resolved.
Government officials say a final decision on Sun TV will be taken after consultations between the two ministries in the coming days.
On the other hand, President of the Association of Radio Operators India, Anuradha Prasad, has written a letter to Arun Jaitley requesting him to keep the third phase of FM radio expansion in mind before any decision is taken on the Sun TV-operated FM channels.