Television channels run by religious and political entities may not stay on air for long, if the government accepts the recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
TRAI is the policy recommending body for the broadcast sector.
TRAI chairperson Nripendra Misra, in his letter to Information & Broadcasting Secretary Sushma Singh, said restricting religious and political organisations from running TV channels “will ensure the… medium is used for advancing public interest” and “for greater realisation of the common man’s right to be informed fully and fairly”.
TRAI has recommended that such channels be phased out in three-four years.
However, the proposed restriction does not apply to an individual who’s a member of a political or religious body.
In India, there are about 35 religious channels; five other channels are affiliated to political parties, including the Congress, the CPM, DMK and AIADMK.
Kishore Mahotta of Sanskar TV hoped that if the recommendations were made into a law, “it would be same for all”.
Karunakar Raj of Day Star accepted it was a “Christian channel” but wanted to study the proposal before commenting.
TRAI also recommended stricter code for religious content in the proposed Broadcast Regulatory Bill.