Television

'Banned' channels allowed to go on air; some operators await decoders

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MUMBAI: After Sahara One and Filmy, the weekend saw the return of the remaining seven "banned" channels to most cable TV networks in Maharashtra.

However, these channels were still off air on networks of major multi-system operators (MSOs) like Hathway and In Cable (who hold sizeable chunk of connections in Mumbai) as well as Zee Group controlled Siticable, among those that had their equipment confiscated by the police in raids on 21 August, when reports last came in. These cable networks were expected to start beaming all the channels again once their decoders were in place.

The first to get back on air was Zee Cinema, while the other six channels - Star Gold, Star One, Star Movies, HBO, AXN and Max - came back soon after.

Zee Cinema, like Sahara One and Filmy, had claimed that it was telecasting U/A certified movies.

Broadcasters of other channels also got the clearance to get back on air soon after with the Mumbai police social service branch granting permission to the channels to resume transmission late on Saturday.

The permission came with a rider though: that the channels would follow the Mumbai High Court directives that they would not air uncertified as well as adult movies.

The nine channels had originally been blacked from 21 August after the Mumbai Police confiscated the decoders of major cable networks and beaming equipment of channels on the charge that they had violated the law by telecasting uncertified movies. This followed orders from the Bombay High Court that channels showing adult movie content should be taken off off air.

Meanwhile, the Cable Operators and Distributors Association (Coda) have decided to meet the information and broadcasting (I&B) minister Priya Ranjan Das Munshi to express their protest against the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai)'s support to direct-to-home (DTH) service providers for using multi-dwelling unit (MDU) technology.

"We are planning to meet the I&B minister for placing our case against MDU. DTH is to home and not direct-to-building," says CODA president Ganesh Naidu.

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