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Tiranga TV criticises govt move to restrict freedom of speech of TV content

Earlier also the Veecon Media-owned channel made it clear that they condemn the attack

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MUMBAI: Tiranga TV has criticised the government’s move to censure it, saying it is unjustified. Recently, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) sent a notice to newly launched news channel Tiranga TV regarding telecast of a media briefing of Pakistan army spokesperson major general Asif Ghafoor on the Pulwama terror attack.

“We have made it clear in our reply that we strongly condemn the attack on our forces and have in unequivocal term criticised Pakistan for patronising terrorism. However, we feel, by issuing the show cause notices to channels for airing the press briefing of Pakistani army spokesperson, the government once again is sitting in judgement upon content of free speech, expressed through the medium of television broadcast,” Veecon Media and Broadcasting Ltd president Deepak Choudhry commented in a reply to the notice.

After the telecast, MIB warned Tiranga TV for violating the programming code of the Cable TV Networks Act by telecasting prohibitive content. The ministry also laid the logic that for the entire duration, there was no clarification or intervention from the channel on the correctness of the claims being made.

As per reports, 12 other channels have also received such notices including ABP News, Surya Samachar, Zee Hindustan, TOTAL TV, ABP Majha, News18 Lokmat, Jai Maharashtra, News18 Gujarati, News24, News Nation, Sandesh News and News18 India.

In a 14 February directive, the MIB warned all private TV channels to strictly adhere to programming guidelines, which came in the wake of the J&K attack. Channels were told not to show content that is likely to encourage or incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order or which promotes anti-national attitudes and/or contains anything affecting the integrity of the nation and ensure that no such content is telecast which is violative of the codes. This was even passed around to channels by NBA, NBSA and IBF.

The MIB said that Tiranga TV is in violation of the code and also this advisory by telecasting the news piece. Tiranga TV is backed by Congress leader Kapil Sibal and was recently given the permission by the Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal to change its name from Harvest TV to Tiranga TV.

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