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Tiranga TV gets MIB show cause notice for airing Pakistani army press conference

12 other channels are also reported to have got notices.

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MUMBAI: The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has warned Tiranga TV for violating the programming code of the Cable TV Networks Act by telecasting prohibitive content. The notice says that Tiranga TV telecast a media briefing of Pakistan army spokesperson major general Asif Ghafoor on Pulwama terror attack between 3.41- 4.02 on 22 February 2019.

The ministry says that for the entire duration, there was no clarification or intervention from the channel on the correctness of the claims being made. Because of this, it violated two rules:

Rule 6[1] (e): No programme should be carried in the cable service which is likely to encourage or incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order or which promote anti-national attitudes

Rule 6[1] (h): No programme should be carried in the cable service which contains anything affecting the integrity of the nation

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.

By telecasting the news piece, the MIB says that Tiranga TV is in violation of the code and also this advisory. The channel has been given seven days to respond with a reason why action should not be taken against it.

In response, Veecon Media and Broadcasting (which runs Tiranga TV) president Deepak Choudhry said, “We were surprised to receive the notice from the I&B ministry. Like all Indians, we are outraged by the terror attack in Pulwama and stand firmly with the armed forces. Our programming has focused on how Pakistan must pay for its patronage of terrorism. The press conference of the Pakistan army spokesman was only carried as part of overall news coverage. We do not subscribe to his views at all and many of our special programs explicitly countered his views. That said, we wonder if we are being targeted. There are channels that have done big interviews with Pervez Musharraf who was responsible for Kargil as well as Shiekh Rashid a known India baiter. These channels have not received any notice. In our channel we have not been calling Pakistani guests for these discussions at all.”

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.

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. 

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