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TDSAT gives a week’s time to Telengana MSOs to carry TV9

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MUMBAI: The Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has directed the multi system operators (MSOs) in Telengana to resume the broadcast of news channel TV9 within a week from the passing of the order on 29 October.

The case which had been filed by the Associated Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) against MSOs Hathway Cable & Datacom, Siti Vision Digital Media and others, had actually been shut in early October when TDSAT had directed the state MSOs to carry the channel. At that time, the Telengana state additional advocate general Ramachandra Rao had said that the government would provide security to the MSOs and LCOs for carrying the channel. This was subject to ABC not broadcasting content that would violate the law or put out defamatory content against the state of Telangana.

However, the Central Government solicitor general Ranjit Kumar regretfully said that the assurance given by Rao ‘remained mere words on a piece of paper’. To this, Rao produced proof of letters sent to the Telangana Police director general asking them to ensure that ‘no untoward incident takes place as a result of the petitioner’s broadcast as per the TDSAT order.’

However, counsel for the MSOs said that the police would come to rescue only after the MSOs had suffered damages from the mob. The answer to this would be to issue a public notice or a press release so that the MSOs could resume broadcast.

The TDSAT has directed the State of Telangana to file an affidavit that as long as TV9 refrains from defamatory content against the state, its people, government and follows the Programme Code and the Advertisement Code, the government would provide security. It has also asked the broadcaster and the MSOs to publicise the order through electronic media.

The MSOs will have to intimate the police about the date when they shall resume broadcast. TV9 has been switched off from the state of Telangana from several months due to its broadcast of content that even the TDSAT saw as ‘highly defamatory’.

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