I&B Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi has put on hold the recommendation of the inter-ministerial committee to ban India's leading business channel CNBC Awaaz allegedly for showing liquor advertisements, following the channel's request for a fresh hearing.
The inter-ministerial committee headed by an I&B ministry official had recommended that the channel should be banned for two days for airing liquor advertisements of brands like Martlac Whisky and Satu Retrus Wine. Showing of liquor advertisements on television is banned as per the programme code under Cable Television Network Act, 1995.
The advertisement was allegedly shown in November 2006, following which a showcause notice was issued to the channel. CNBC Awaaz, in its reply, had denied that advertisements were shown on the channel and claimed that the entire controversy has arisen due to a misunderstanding. Having procured a CD of the advertisements shown, the committee decided for a two-day ban on the channel.
However, the channel appealed before the minister Dasmunsi against the committee's verdict seeking to present it afresh. Considering the request, the minister has decided to put the committee's decision on hold for the time being. "The minister wants to give the channel a fair chance to present its case before taking the final decision," said an official at the minister's office. Munsi could not be contacted for his comments.
Had the CNBC Awaaz been banned it would have been the third channel to face the ministry's ire this year, although of less magnitude. Earlier, the government had banned AXN and FTV for a period of two months for showing content termed by I&B ministry as obscene.