Last month, Peace TV brought into sharp focus, the damage a TV channel can do to world Peace. Youth from prominent families in Bangladesh admitted their terrorist activities were inspired by content on Peace TV. In India, Peace TV is an illegal channel..........
PEACE TV DISTURBS THE PEACE
On July 2, 2016 seven ISIS activists brutally murdered 22 foreigners inside the Holey Artisan Bakery restaurant popular with expatriates in Dhakka, Bangladesh. Six of the ISIS activists were killed by Bangladeshi commandos who stormed the bakery and rescued several more hostages. 1 surviving ISIS activist said he had been inspired by Peace TV evangelist Zakir Maik.
Bangladesh promptly banned Peace TV reception in Bangladesh.
The channel is already banned in India and Malaysia. "Zakir Naik had applied for a television channel in 2008 and in 2009 it was rejected," Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu told reporters.
Uplinked from Dubai, Peace TV is a Free-To- Air channel, run by Mumbai-based Islamic preacher Zakir Naik.
It was launched in January 2006, in English. Peace TV Urdu was launched in June 2009, Peace TV Bangla in April 2011 and Peace TV Chinese in December 2015. Zakir Naik plans to expand the Peace TV Network to cover the 10 major languages of the world.
Its footprint, from multiple satellites, covers 125 countries, including many parts of Asia, Middle East, Europe, Africa, Australia and the US.
Press reports indsicate that Islamic preacher Zakir Naik collects donations in the name of his UK-based charity Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) & diverts it to Peace TV.
Investigative reports by the Indian press reveal that Mumbai-based Harmony Media prepares production content for Peace TV and that the offices of the production house and Zakir Naik's Mumbai NGO were located in the same building in Mumbai.
It is surprising that the Indian government, despite banning Peace TV transmissions in India, did not shut down its TV content production house, and Naik's operating office in Mumbai, for a decade.
Ironically, Zakir Naik was trained to save lives. A medical doctor by professional training, Naik is the president of Islamic Research Foundation.
A recent advisory by the Indian government cautioned that Peace TV's content & Naik's speeches were "aimed at inciting communal and terrorist violence."
India does not ban specific TV channels. The I&B ministry has approved approximately 900 satellite TV channels for reception in India. Any channels not on the permitted list, are automatically banned. (For our reader's convenience, we have carried an updated list of permitted channels, elsewhere in this magazine.)
In 2015 the I&B ministry declared a list of 24 anti-national channels that were deemed unfit for local reception as they incited communal and antinational activities.
The list included Pakistani channels like PTV, PTV Home, PTV World, Geo TV, Dawn, Express, Waqat, Q TV, Madni TV, Noor TV, Hadi TV, Aaj, Filmax and STV.
Out of the other 10, there were 2 from Nepal (one identified as Nepal, and the other as Kantipur), 1 channel each from Bangladesh (NTV Bangladesh), Maldives (TV Maldives) and Bhutan (Bhutan Broadcasting Service), and the United Kingdom-based Ahmedia Channel.
The other channels were from Arab countries like Saudi TV & Peace TV, while the Indian security agencies had not disclosed identities of two channels, ARY TV and XYZ TV.
ENFORCING CHANNEL BAN
However, industry observers maintain that some of the anti-national channels continued to be available illegally on some networks in some parts of the country owing to "pressure from local cable TV subscribers and lax or indulgent policing."
The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) has issued an advisory to all DTH operators, multi-system operators (MSOs) and local cable operators (LCOs) to immediately stop transmission of TV channels, including Peace TV, that have not been permitted by the government.
Taking note of security threats due to TV content aimed at inciting communal and terrorist violence, the advisory has specifically named Peace TV. "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. lt may be noted that the role of your state government in this regard is crucial in preventing any broadcast or transmission of such non-permitted channels by the cable operators," the advisory stated.
I&B Secretary Ajay Mittal has already written to chief secretaries of all states to crack down on broadcast of unauthorised channels as per the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act.
CABLE NETWORKS WARNED
Minister of State for I&B Rajyavardhan Rathore had informed Parliament in December 2015 that the ministry had formulated a detailed guideline for setting up of state and district level monitoring committees to oversee content transmitted by India's 60,000-odd cable operators with a view to curb illegal channels.
These committees, comprising various cross sections of the society, were intended to aid and advise authorized government officials in ensuring compliance of the provisions of the Cable TV networks Regulation Act, Rathore had said in Parliament.
The government has issued stern warnings to all distribution platforms including Cable TV networks not to carry any un-approved TV channel. "It has come to the notice of this ministry that some private satellite TV channels which are not permitted by this ministry are being transmitted by some cable operators on their networks. This is a clear violation of Sub-Rule 6(6) of the Cable TV Rules under programme code and need to be acted upon immediately," the advisory stated.
The penalty is confiscation of the Headend, a fine and imprisonment.