Zakir Naik’s Peace TV will continue to stream into homes in India despite the ban, a spokesperson for the Islamic preacher claimed. The channel was banned in 2012 as it was unlicensed and allegedly aired anti-Indian content.
“The channel will continue to be on air,” Mubarak Kapdi, brother-in-law of Naik, told HT while responding to questions on some of Naik’s selfie-videos aired on Peace TV, following the recent controversies. “A lot has been said and shown against Dr. Naik by twisting and blowing up facts out of proportion. He always spoke for unity…We have our own media to let our voice be heard.”
To a question how the channel continued to be aired in India despite the ban on it since 2012, Kapdi said, “that way, there are many local channels which have no licence at all. They are being aired completely over cable network,” he said.
The privately owned Peace TV is headquartered in Dubai. Some cable operators are airing it in India in violation of sub-rule 6(6) of the Cable TV Rules. In fact, the I&B ministry on Saturday reiterated that the channel does not have the permit to downlink its content in India.
Peace TV was first launched in 2006 as English channel with Zakir Naik as its founder and president. It is registered as Lords Production Ltd (parent company), a subsidiary of Universal Broadcasting Corporation Ltd. In 2009, it launched its Urdu channel followed by Bangla and Chinese the next year. It has plans to launch Arabic and French versions soon.
Kapdi, meanwhile, alleged that “draconian rules” came on the way of Peace TV making an application for a licence. “It is extremely difficult to obtain a licence under the present set of rules. If the government makes ‘rational’ rules for license, like while issuing passport, we will certainly apply,” he added.
He said technology has enabled everyone to transcend barriers of legality in making voices heard. “The voice can be heard globally”.
Meanwhile, a senior Mumbai police official told HT that the police are checking if cable operators in the city were complying with the I&B ministry’s guidelines on not airing Peace TV. “Those found violating the rules will be taken to task immediately,” the official added. The police claimed to have found the editing studio of Peace TV in Tandel street in Dongri where videos are edited post-production and later sent to London and Dubai for broadcast.