Jammu Ban On Islamic Channels25 April 2010
The Telegraph (Kolkata)
New Delhi: The civil administration in Jammu has issued a notification banning some Islamic channels, triggering protests by Muslim groups and political parties. Among the channels that cable operators have been told to stop airing are four popular ones like Peace TV (Dubai), Quran TV, Hadi TV and Noor TV. The others are Pakistani channels ARY, PTV Home, PTV World, Geo TV, Dawn, Express, Waqt and Aaj. The notification came barely a week after the Centre imposed an SMS ban in Jammu and Kashmir citing security concerns, only to withdraw it within hours. The SMS goof came three months after the Centre restored prepaid mobile services, banned on security grounds last November. District magistrate M.K. Dwivedi issued the notification a couple of days back after the administration invoked the Cable TV Network (Regulation) Act, 1995. Official sources said notices served to the cable operators asked them to immediately stop the telecast of these 12 channels, which have been listed as illegal, and submit compliance reports within two days. The sources said authorised officers had been empowered under the Cable TV act to take action against violations. An official said several senior ministers from the ruling National Conference had voiced strong opposition to the move. “The cable operators stopped airing the channels for a few hours yesterday, but a couple of them were aired later,” the official added. Jammu divisional commissioner Pawan Kotwal said the instruction had come from the ministry of information and broadcasting. “Such instructions have in fact come to all the district commissioners,” he said. He, however, played down the ban, saying cable operators had just got showcause notices. “Peace TV and Quran TV are very popular, the problem is they have got clubbed with other channels,” he said. But the decision is already taking political overtones. “I cannot vouch for other channels but banning Islamic channels like Peace TV and QTV is beyond our understanding,” said Zahoor-ud-din, chairman of the Muslim Coordination Committee, Jammu. Anjumani Imamia general secretary Syed Fida Hussain said Islamic channels had been singled out. “There are so many channels like Baba Ram Dev’s channel, Bapu Asaram’s channel, Sahab Bandigi and Jain TV which cater to the needs of other communities, but there is no ban on them,” he said. Jammu and Kashmir law minister Ali Mohammad Sagar said he had talked to the divisional commissioner and the order would be revoked. Cable operators said these channels were popular across the state. “They are one big reason that a large number of people still prefer Cable TV,” Shareer Hussain, an operator, said.