NO APPROVALS REQUIRED FOR ANY LOCAL CABLE TV CHANNEL
The District Magistrate, Malda, West Bengal sent us an Order not to run our local channel 'Sabar Cable'.
We appealed this order at the Calcutta high Court. Attached are copies of the District Magistrate's order and stay granted by the Honourable Justice Dipankar Dutta.
Dear Mr. Dutta,
Congratulations on taking a stand against an incorrect order issued to your cable network. Thank you also for the interim court order which we are sharing for the benefit of our readers.
A reader from Puducherry approached us last month with a similar notice that he received from the office of the local sub divisional magistrate asking him to shut down local channels since they were not approved by the Central Government. That order had in fact referred to certain clauses of the Cable Act which do not exist!
We would like to once again clarify that local cable TV channels, on an Analog or Digital Cable TV network, do not require any licence or prior permission from any Government body or agency. Local cable channels must however conform to content restrictions e.g. not carry pirated content, not carry indecent content etc. Failure to observe these rules can lead to the Cable TV Headend being shut down, and the equipment confiscated. The headend owner can be jailed as its a "Cognisable" offense. A "Cognisable Offence" provides a police officer the authority to make an arrest without a warrant and to start an investigation with or without the permission of a court.
While the election process is in progress, the Election Commission can restrict cable channels from carrying content of a political nature that promotes/ criticises any particular political candidate etc.
It may be noted that several months prior to the National Elections held in May 2014, the NaMo channel was carried on several major Headends in Gujarat simultaneously as a cable channel. The daily content of the channel was reportedly delivered to each MSO's head end. Again no licence was required and the channel was perfectly legal.
As per current law Satellite TV channels require a prior uplinking/downlinking licence from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, New Delhi.
With best wishes. - Ed