Islamic preacher Zakir Naik’s Peace TV channel is restricted by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to downlink and warned the cable operators that action will be taken for transmitting the channel, the ministry said on Saturday.
In view of reports that the channel’s content aimed at inciting communal violence, the ministry issued a notification directing officials to take action against those transmitting the channel.
The ministry’s Deputy Secretary Shankar Lal said: “Reports are being received of such content being broadcast through private satellite TV channels, such as Peace TV channel, which are not permitted by this ministry for downlinking into the country.”
Naik is under the scanner following revelations that two of the five terrorists who massacred 20 hostages at a cafe in Dhaka on July 1 drew inspiration from his speeches.
“Some unauthorised private satellite television channels are being transmitted by some cable operators. This is a clear violation of the sub-rule 6(6) of the Cable TV Rules under programme code and needs to be acted upon immediately,” Lal said.
“Necessary action must be taken by the authorised officers promptly against the defaulters to stop transmission of these channels,” he added.
Issuing a list of 892 private channels which are permitted to telecast in the country, the ministry has advised all state governments to constitute state- and district-level monitoring committees for broadcast content.
It also said that people can send their complaints against telecast of non-permitted channels.
It said that cable TV rules specifies that no cable operator shall carry or include in his cable service any television broadcast or channel which has not been registered by the central government for being viewed within the territory of India.
“Transmission or re-transmission of any TV channel in violation of the Section 5 of the Cable TV Act read with Rule 6(6) by any cable operator is an offence which attracts action against the operators by the authorized officers,” it said.
As per cable TV Act, if any authorized officer has reasons to believe that various provisions of the Act including the programme code are violated by any operator, he has the powers to take against that operator either by seizing his equipment or punishment for contravention of provisions of the act under Section 16.
The ministry said that either a district magistrate, sub-divisional magistrate or a commissioner of police is authorised officer to keep account of cable TV operators.