Leash on hill cable operators

The Telegraph

Darjeeling, April 16: The Centre has decided to rein in cable operators airing Chinese, Pakistani, Bhutanese, Nepalese and Bangladeshi satellite channels in the state.

Ragu Menon, the secretary of the information and broadcasting ministry, in a letter (No 9/22/2009-BP&L) to state chief secretary Asok Mohan Chakrabarti, which is in the possession of The Telegraph, said: “It has been observed that Multi-System Operators/Cable operators in the country are carrying illegal and unauthorised television channels on their Cable TV service networks…..It has also been stated that contents on these channels are not conducive to the security environment in the country and immediate action is necessary to curb the carriages of such unauthorised channels.”

A Chinese channel in Tibetan language — XYZ TV — popular among the Tibetan community in Dareeling and its surrounding areas has also been included in the list of “illegal and unauthorised” channels. Some others on the list are Pakistan-based QTV, Madni TV and Geo TV, Dubai-based Peace TV, Bangladesh-based NTV, Nepal and Kantipur channels, UK-based Ahmedia Channel and also the Bhutan Broadcasting Service. Most of these channels are aired in north Bengal, Sikkim and in the Northeast.

Ramesh Pradhan, the proprietor of Milkyway, a Dareeling-based cable network, said: “As soon as I received the letter from the home (political) department of the state, I stopped beaming the Chinese, Nepalese and the Pakistan-based channels. The Chinese/Tibetan and Nepal channels are very popular in the region.”

Surendra Gupta, the district magistrate of Darjeeling, said: “We have simply forwarded the letters we have received.”

Menon in his letter said: “As per Rule 6 (6) of the Cable TV Networks Rules, 1994 a cable operator is permitted to carry only those channels which are registered with this ministry under the policy guidelines for downlinking of TV channels in India.”


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