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Rediff News  All News  » Business » Action ordered against unlicensed TV channels

Action ordered against unlicensed TV channels

December 08, 2009 10:34 IST

Several complaints had been received about illegal and unlicensed television channels and action had been taken against them, the government informed the Rajya Sabha.

The Centre had asked states to take action and written to the home ministry, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said during Question Hour.

"It is a fact that many complaints about illegal channels being shown in various parts of the country, have been received by us. We wrote to all chief secretaries of states to take action against cable operators and multi-system operators (MSOs) who are showing them," she said.

The Centre had also asked the states to set up district-level committees to monitor telecast of such channels, she said.

State governments also took action against cable operators airing such channels and seized their equipment, Soni said adding this had led to law and order problems in some areas.

"Therefore, I recently also wrote to Home Minister P Chidambaram to look into the matter. He has said the situation is being monitored and strict action will be taken against violators," she said.

Soni informed the House that conditional access system (CAS) had been implemented in the four metros of the country, and the government would roll it out in 55 cities in the next stage.

"At the same time, we have got the Headend-in-the-Sky (HITS) policy cleared from the Cabinet recently. This is the next step towards digitisation of cable transmission and it will speed it up," Soni said.

On the issue of film and video piracy, she said during a meeting of state information ministers on December 5 that several suggestions had come up to curb the menace.

She said a small group had also been formed by the ministry to look into these suggestions.

"States like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, among others, have laws in place to check piracy. We are however sensitive about the issue and it is very much on our agenda," she added.

Referring to the issue of illegal cable channels, Soni said, as on date, 512 private channels had been permitted under uplinking and downlinking guidelines of the ministry.

Of these, only 485 channels are permitted to downlink in India while the remaining channels are permitted only to uplink from India.

"The government on October 7, 2009, had issued an advisory to all authorised multi-system operators' associations to discontinue with immediate effect the transmission of illegal channels, failing which, penal action would be taken," she added.

50 notices issued for content code violation

The government has informed the Rajya Sabha that it had regularly been taking corrective measures against television channels that violated its content code and had sent 50 notices to channels this year.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said during the Question Hour that only the companies registered under the Companies Act could downlink signals in the country according to the provisions of the Act.

"Whenever any channel violates the content code, we send either advisories or notices to the channel concerned, which modifies the content according to our guidelines or runs a disclaimer. This year alone, the ministry has sent 50 notices to television channels for violating the content code," she said.

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