Govt to crack down on illegal channels

  • Nandini R Iyer, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • |
  • Updated: Jan 01, 2011 00:28 IST

It came to light when riots broke out in the Valley after an Iranian channel reported the alleged desecration of the Quran in America. The channel was illegally downlinked and aired by local cable operators.

Now the government has decided to amend laws covering illegal broadcast of foreign channels such as Press TV, Peace TV or QTV.

The government is likely to move an amendment in the budget session of Parliament to the Cable Television Networks Act to enable police to directly register a first information report, investigate and arrest offenders without waiting for a court directive.

The existing fines of Rs 1,000 for the first offence and Rs 5,000 for a subsequent offence would be raised to at least Rs 1 lakh for the first offence and much higher for each further offence.

The downlinking and illegal broadcast of about 25 foreign channels, including Peace TV, Q TV, Madani, Hadi, Aaj and NTV, have generated serious concern among security agencies.

The government has taken a very serious view of intelligence reports that approximately 25 foreign channels, including several Pakistan-based ones, are being illegally downlinked and shown almost all over India.

At a high-level meeting at the Cabinet secretariat on Friday, security agencies made a strong point that the government needs to come out with harshly deterrent legislation.

Earlier this year, the government found that a large number of cable operators in Jammu and Kashmir were beaming Pakistani channels, which were not registered with the Government of India.

Further investigations, however, revealed that it was not just Pakistani channels. There were channels based in Bangladesh, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Maldives.


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