CNBC questions INCablenet stand

NEW DELHI: Television Eighteen Ltd, the Indian joint venture partner for CNBC India, has questioned the Hinduja Group MSO INCablenet's stand on the black out of the business news channel on the INCablenet owned or affiliate cable networks in Mumbai. It has also written a letter to the Indian Broadcasters' Foundation (IBF) requesting that the apex body should come out strongly against such incidents of "armtwisting."

The IBF is the apex body of broadcasting companies operating in India.

"If we have not signed up with INCablenet as per the Cable TV Act, something which is being claimed to be the reason behind the blackout, I would ask has INCablenet ever written to us asking us to do so?" was the question Haresh Chawla, chief executive of TV18, put before indiantelevision today.

Chawla said if the case was that of the channel not signing up with the MSO, as per the law, then the channel should not be on air in other parts of the country also. "But in other parts of the country CNBC India is on air and is being shown by cable operators, some of whom may be also franchisees of INCablenet."

INCablenet president Rajiv Vyas, however, had told yesterday that the business channel was off the network because it had failed to provide "an official undertaking that it was complying with all terms and conditions of the Cable Act."

But Chawla has dared INCablenet to come out and give proof that other channels have signed up with INCablenet as per the rules and regulations, which are being cited by the MSO.

Chawla further said the poser should be put to INCablenet as to whether business channel Bloomberg, which is what has replaced CNBC India on the bouquet, had given any such undertaking.

INCablenet had taken CNBC India feed off its networks in Mumbai since Tuesday allegedly in retaliation for a report carried by the channel on the Hindujas and Bofors case earlier this week.

In a counter move, CNBC India has decided to stop covering the Hinduja group's business activities and has also deleted the Hinduja group's scrip price movement from its ticker service, which comes at the bottom of the TV screen.

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