Unregistered channels go off the air in Kashmir

After banning news and current affairs programmes on local cable TV channels, authorities here today directed cable operators in Kashmir Valley to take off air all unregistered channels including those from Pakistan.

Last Updated: Sep 15, 2010, 15:13 PM IST

Srinagar: After banning news and current
affairs programmes on local cable TV channels, authorities
here today directed cable operators in Kashmir Valley to take
off air all unregistered channels including those from
Pakistan.

The order to implement the directive strictly comes
close on the heels of the government banning Iran-based
private news channel -- Press TV -- after it aired a report
about alleged desecration of a holy book in the United States,
that led to violent protests leaving 18 dead.

The District Administration said it was only going by
the law of the land and the orders of taking off the channels
was passed in 2008.

"The order of banning all unregistered channels has
been passed in 2008. We have only implemented it," District
Magistrate Srinagar Meraj Ahmad Kakroo said.

A representative of the Cable Operators Association
said they received directions from the state administration
asking them to take off air Pakistani news and entertainment
channels.

"We have also been told to stop airing religious
channels, irrespective of the faith," President of the
association Mohammad Amjad said.

He said the cable operators have abided by the
directions of the administration and so far 19 channels have
been taken off air.

Amjad also claimed that the optic fibre cable of the
operators and power supply to the transmitters were being
snapped off. "We fail to understand who is playing mischief by
cutting the cables as a strict curfew is in place in Kashmir,"
he said.

Kakroo said no channel would be allowed to be aired
which is not registered with the Union Information and
Broadcasting Ministry as required by the law.

"It is not only about Pakistani channels ... any
channel not registered with the concerned authorities will not
be allowed to be aired," he said.

The state government had on Monday asked the
operators to stop airing news and current affairs programmes
on local cable channels, which had been curtailed to 15
minutes per day after the present unrest began on June 11.

Meanwhile, newspapers in Kashmir failed to hit the
stands for the second consecutive day today due to curfew as
the movement of the local scribes and technical staff of the
dailies was restricted.

PTI