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I&B ministry orders two TV channels off air for violating cable act

The ministry ordered an Assamese channel DY 365 off the air from December 15 to 18. A Gujarati channel, VTV, will be taken off air on December 17.

india Updated: Dec 15, 2017 10:00 IST
Smriti Kak
Smriti Kak
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
I&B ministry,information and broadcasting ministry,Assamese television channel
Minister of information and broadcasting Smriti Irani in New Delhi.(PTI File Photo)

The Union information and broadcasting ministry has ordered an Assamese television channel to go off the air for three days and a Gujarati channel for a day for violating the cable television network rules.

The ministry’s decision comes after an inter-ministerial committee that has representatives from ministries including, defence, external affairs, women and child welfare, home affairs and culture found DY 365 TV and VTV guilty of breaching the provisions of Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995.

The ministry ordered DY 365 TV, which aired a programme in 2016, showing newborn babies being tossed in the air following a ritual in Assam, off the air from December 15 to 18. VTV, which broadcast a programme showing children being beaten in an orphanage in Egypt but presented it as an incident that occurred in Gujarat, will be taken off air on December 17.

“The video meant to expose an extremely dangerous superstition allegedly prevalent in some parts of Assam where people believe that undergoing this ritual will keep the child safe. The visuals are extremely disturbing and not suitable for unrestricted public exhibition,” the ministry said in its order regarding DY 365.

The channel, for its part, told the ministry that it did not disclose the identity of the child in the video and the programme intended to highlight “the unethical and dangerous practices being carried out in the country and had vehemently spoken against such practices”.

It also said that the practice was “detrimental to child welfare” and the “channel is duty bound to expose, criticise and impart education to the people.” The channel said it spoke “vehemently against such illogical, unscientific, unethical dangerous practices that are being carried out in India. Hence they tried to educate through the news.”

The inter-ministerial committee, however, concluded that the channel had violated the provisions of the cable act and its representatives were unable to give information about the video, including what the ritual is called in Assam, and the reason it was telecast.

In case of VTV, the ministry said it broadcast a programme in March in which a man could be seen brutally beating up children in an orphanage and the video started trending on social media alleging that the incident occurred in RMVM School of Valsad in Gujarat.

“However, when the channel conducted their investigation about this video, it found that the video was of an incident in an orphanage in Egypt. While reporting the news, the channel has shown disturbing visuals of the orphan kids who were beaten up and thrashed brutally by the manager,” the order said.

The channel in its reply to the ministry said that as per their investigation the video was confirmed to be of RMVM School and other channels had also run the video though it later apologised.

First Published: Dec 15, 2017 10:00 IST