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Home > News > PTI

Idol comment: Govt bans Red FM for 7 days

October 03, 2007 13:58 IST

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Terming the remarks of a Red FM radio jockey against the Gorkha community as derogatory, the government has banned the radio channel for seven days.

"The remarks hurt the sentiments of the Gurkha (Nepali) community. The steps taken by the radio channel did not help as the violence continued even after that. So we decided to impose a ban of seven days on the channel," a senior Information and Broadcasting ministry official said. He added that the order would be subject to the outcome of the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal's hearing.

The ban would be subject to the outcome of the channel's appeal against the showcause notice by the Ministry in the TDSAT, which will take up the matter on Thursday.

The alleged derogatory remarks made by a radio jockey about the winner of Indian Idol [Images] Prashant Tamang had triggered violent clashes in Siliguri last week.

Allowing the government to go ahead with its proceedings, the broadcast tribunal on Monday held that the order of the government will not be implemented till the next date of hearing.

"The channel had given its reply to the showcause notice and also explained that it has already apologised to the Gurkha community. But we found the remarks to be definitely derogatory and the remedial steps were not adequate," the official said.

He added that the channel did not spell out its future remedial actions. During the hearing, the channel contended that the time given to it was not sufficient as the notice was issued late on Saturday.

Defending its broadcast, the channel also questioned how a broadcast confined to Delhi can be connected to the violence and clashes in cities as far as Darjeeling, Siliguri and Kalimpong.

Dismissing the contention of inadequate time for reply, the ministry took action under clause 25.3.1 of the Grant of Permission Agreement for private broadcasters and Programme Code of All India Radio.

According to the Code, a radio channel "should not broadcast anything defamatory, causing incitement to violence and anything against the law and order."

"The time given to the channel was within the provisions of the agreement. Since the violation was serious, the ministry decided to suspend the permission and prohibit the broadcast," the ministry official said.

The channel has maintained that the government acted without giving it any opportunity to present its case. It also contended that in the licence agreement, there was no provision that permitted the government to take action against the channel without a sufficient notice.

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