India doesn’t possess technology to prevent beaming of unauthorised channels such as Iran-based Press TV, the cause of Monday’s violence in the Valley, and it is for the district administration to ensure such channels are not shown.
Government officials said on Tuesday — a day after Press TV showed clippings of Holy Quran being burnt in US resulting in death of 16 people — that there are several such channels, including Pakistan Television, shown through cable network in the Kashmir Valley.
Home ministry had repeatedly conveyed to J&K government about unlicensed channels being shown, said to be a cause for creating unrest.
After the violence, J&K government asked five cable operators to stop telecast of Press TV. But, security establishment is miffed whether similar action would be taken against other illegal channels being shown.
Under Cable Network (Regulation) Act, 1995, the Centre can only ask the state to act. The law authorises the district magistrate to take action against the cable operator for showing any unauthorised channel.
As per the downlinking guidelines, no channel can be shown on any broadcasting medium — cable, Direct To Home or Internet Protocol Television — without the permission of the I&B ministry.
Officials confirmed that none of the channels originating from Pakistan being shown in Kashmir have ministry’s permission. The ministry has not given permission to a single channel from Pakistan, a reason for Islamabad banning entertainment channels from India.
“We don’t have powers to directly stop them,” a government functionary said. “It is responsibility of the state governments to take action against the operator showing these channels”.
Aerial antennas can jam signals from satellites. But, India has never used the jammers.
“It is very costly and we don’t have it,” an official said.