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Pakistani TV channels taken off air in Kashmir

September 15, 2010 15:04 IST
After banning news and current affairs programmes on local cable television channels, authorities in Srinagar on Wednesday directed cable operators in Kashmir valley to take off air all unregistered channels, including those from Pakistan.

The order to implement the directive strictly comes on the heels of the government banning an Iran-based private news channel -- Press TV -- after it aired a report about the alleged desecration of the Quran in the United States, that led to violent protests leaving 18 dead.

The district administration said it was only going by the law of the land and the order to take off the channels was passed in 2008.

"The order of banning all unregistered channels has been passed in 2008. We have only implemented it," district magistrate for Srinagar Meraj Ahmad Kakroo told PTI.

A representative of the Cable Operators Association said they received directions from the state administration asking them to take off air Pakistani news and entertainment channels.

"We have also been told to stop airing religious channels, irrespective of the faith," president of the association Mohammad Amjad said.

He said the cable operators have abided by the directions of the administration and so far 19 channels have been taken off air.

Amjad also claimed that the optic fibre cable of the operators and power supply to the transmitters were being snapped. "We fail to understand who is playing mischief by cutting the cables as a strict curfew is in place in Kashmir," he said.

Kakroo said no channel would be allowed to be aired which is not registered with the Union information and broadcasting ministry as required by the law.

"It is not only about Pakistani channels ... any channel not registered with the concerned authorities will not be allowed to be aired," he said.

The state government had on Monday asked the operators to stop airing news and current affairs programmes on local cable channels, which had been curtailed to 15 minutes per day after the present unrest began on June 11.

Meanwhile, newspapers in Kashmir failed to hit the stands for the second consecutive day due to curfew.

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