Indian court bans Pakistani channels in IHK

23 April 2008
The Daily Times
Iftikhar Gilani

New Delhi: An Indian court on Wednesday banned the broadcast of Pakistani television channels in Indian-held Kashmir (IHK) with immediate effect. The ban comes in the wake of the channels’ refusal to register with the Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the court said, adding that the channels will remain off the air until further orders. Any cable operator airing the channels will be arrested and tried under the Cable Television Regulation Act 1995, the order issued by the Srinagar District Magistrate Sheikh Ejaz Iqbal read. A similar ban was imposed on Pakistani channels in 2002. According to guidelines issued in 2005 the cable and satellite broadcasters were barred from transmitting any foreign TV channel that has not registered with or paid registration charges to the Indian government. While making registration mandatory for channels broadcasting in India, the Indian government banned foreign news channels from carrying advertisements and news programmes tailored specifically for Indian audiences. Channels broadcasting in India must be registered in India under the Indian Companies Act, irrespective of its equity structure, foreign ownership or management control. “The applicant company must have a commercial presence in India with its principal place of business in India,” the ministry said. The ministry has set minimum security of Rs 15 million for broadcasting one TV channel in India, and Rs 10 million for every additional channel.