Bill soon to make cable law stringent

Centre to step in to check illegal broadcast of foreign channels

According to sources, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is preparing a Bill to amend the existing provisions of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 which may also make illegal transmission of foreign channels a cognisable offence in the country.

The move has been initiated by the ministry as several instances of carriage of illegal satellite TV channels by cable operators were brought to its notice.“Security agencies have prepared a list of 25 such channels. They have underlined that the contents of some of these channels were not conducive to the security environment in the country and pose a potential security hazard,” a source in the government said.

Earlier, the matter was also taken up by the committee of secretaries (CoS) which deliberated on various options for curbing the problem of illegal broadcasting of foreign channels . The CoS felt that there was an “imperative need” to make the provisions in cable law “more stringent and deterrent” to prevent illegal carriage of foreign channels.

The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act has provisions to deal with illegal transmission of foreign channels but in absence of stringent panel provisions, the legislation has failed to deter those indulging in such practices.There have been reports of illegal transmission of Islamic preaching channels in many parts of the country, including Jammu and Kashmir as the operators allegedly get a hefty fee from agents.

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