Television

India asks J&K to stop illegal channels, official unavailable

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MUMBAI: The Indian government has asked the administration in Jammu and Kashmir to take stern action against private cable operators airing illegal Pakistani and Saudi Arabian channels. Union minister M. Venkaiah Naidu has reportedly directed the J&K government to submit a report at the earliest. 

www.indiantelevision.com could not speak to the director (BP& L) in the information and broadcasting ministry Amit Katoch on the concrete plan of action in spite of several attempts last Friday as his assistant said he was busy.

Jammu and Kashmir operators reportedly broadcast several channels illegally such as Ary QTV, Saudi Sunnah, Karbala, Saudi Quran, Al Arabia, Paigham, Hidayat, Sehar, Hadi TV, Sehar, Noor, Madani, Bethat, Ahlibat, Falak, Dawn News, Geo News and Ary News. A senior official in New Delhi reportedly said that the Kashmir administration had been asked to file an ATR (action-taken report). 

While the Pakistani channels show anti-India programmes, those from Saudi preach Wahhabism, a concept of the Sharia law including the banned Peace TV headed by Dr Zakir Naik. A majority of around 5,000 cable operators in the Valley reportedly run these channels. The minister of state for information and broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore reportedly said that he had asked the chief secretary Bharat Bhushan Vyas to submit a compliance report. 

While the government of India has banned these channels, the operators in Kashmir cite the Ranbir Penal Code, a separate law in Kashmir, according to which the ban is not applicable. Reportedly, the I&B ministry meanwhile directed local cable operators (LCOs), multi-system operators (MSOs) and direct-to-home (DTH) platforms to stop the telecast of illegal channels.

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