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Fake sting: Live India banned for one month

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NEW DELHI: The Live India Channel which telecast the fake sting leading to a law and order problem and arrest of a Delhi school teacher, has now been banned for one month with immediate effect.

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry today issued order for prohibiting the transmission/re-transmission of the satellite channel (which until early August was known as Janmat) on all platforms throughout the country.

The ban has been imposed in terms of the Sub-Section (2) of Section 20 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act 1995. The Act is clear that ‘no person shall transmit or re-transmit through a cable service any programme unless such programme is in conformity with the prescribed programme code’.

Section 20 (2) of the Act says the government may regulate or prohibit the transmission or re-transmission of any channel or programme ‘Where the Central Government thinks it necessary or expedient so to do in the interest of the (i) sovereignty or integrity of India; or (ii) security of India; or (iii) friendly relations of India with any foreign State; or (iv) public order, decency or morality.

Earlier, the Ministry had issued a showcause notice on 11 September asking the channel to respond within three days.

The order issued today, effective till 20 October says: "It had come to the notice of the Central Government that some Cable Operators in the country through their Cable Television Networks had been transmitting/re-transmitting the satellite channel namely ‘Janmat’ (assumed name Live India), which telecast an admittedly doctored sting operation on Smt. Uma Khurana, teacher, Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya in Darya Ganj, Delhi."

The order further noted that the telecast of the sting operation was "defamatory, deliberate, false and contained suggestive innuendos and half-truths; incited violence and contained content against maintenance of law and order. It criticized, maligned and slandered an individual in person and it denigrated children and was irresponsibly aired by the channel without exercise of due diligence in preliminary verification of the facts of the case."

The channel’s reporters Prakash Singh and Rashmi Singh are already in police custody. It is also learnt that some women’s organizations have filed a complaint asking the Ministry to cancel the broadcasting licence of the channel.

Interestingly, the incident has come out at a time when there is growing confrontation between the Ministry and news broadcasters on the need or relevance of an imposed Content Code.

The school teacher Uma Khurana has been granted bail in the fake sting which showed her using her own students for prostitution. Businessman Virendra Arora who wanted to recover some money reportedly owed to him by Uma is reported to have hatched the conspiracy using Prakash.

Live India is the new name of Janmat channel, promoted by Broadcast Initiatives Ltd of Markand Adhikari. Janmat was a predominantly "views channel" earlier till it re-launched itself in the form of Live India, a 24x7 news channel, on 3 August.

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