NEW DELHI, DEC 11 - In an attempt to clear the air, India has said that it does not harbour any intention of blocking foreign television channels, including Kantipur TV and Nepal TV, but has argued that the down-linking of these channels is “against the law of the land”.
At a press briefing in New Delhi on Tuesday, official spokesperson of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Syed Akbaruddin said that the broadcast of those TV channels is “illegal” as “they have not sought permission from the Indian government for down-linking”.
This official clarification comes amid media reports of the Indian government preparing to block 24 foreign television channels, including the two Nepali channels, for “illegal down-linking and anti-Indian content”.
“Under our laws, permission is required for down-linking TV channels to India and any foreign channel which has not sought such permission is technically and theoretically in violation of our norms and regulations,” Akbaruddin said.
According to the data provided by the MEA, more than 90 TV channels of foreign origin are legally down-linked in India as of now.
In response to the reports of the Nepali channels broadcasting anti-Indian content, Akbaruddin said that it would be incorrect to draw that conclusion as Indian intelligence agencies believe that only some of those 24 TV channels carry anti-Indian sentiments.
“Some of these TV channels are, in the view of some of our agencies, considered to carry anti-national information. They have not listed any names,” he said. “I don’t think it is correct to infer from that information that it was directed towards one or the other of those 24 listed channels.”
Akbaruddin claimed that India was not targeting any specific channel or indicating that they are anti-Indian. “The issue is not whether they are anti-national or not. The issue is that they do not conform to Indian regulations,” he clarified.
However, it is not clear what action the Indian government will take against the down-linking.
According to reports in the Indian media, the government is mulling over strong action against cable operators for down-linking foreign channels that have not been granted permission to be aired in India.
Posted on: 2012-12-12 08:05