Some religious TV channels may be closed if TRAI report is accepted

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New Delhi, Nov 27 (UNI) The Government is actively looking into the recommendation of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) for not allowing the entry of religious and political bodies into broadcasting and taking them off the air if any such channels were in operation.

''We have already said no to it, and no such entities are at present allowed to broadcast, but the Ministry was engaged in wide consultations over the issue to take a final view,'' a senior officer of the Ministry said.

Regarding the recommendation for exit route to be given to such bodies if they had been given such permission, the official said the content and ownership of some religious channels would have to be screened thorougly and their functioning examined in depth to take a decision in this matter.

The Telecom Regulator categorically had recently said no to the proposal to allow religious bodies to own their broadcasting stations and teleports. ''This would be in conformity with the secular fabric of the Constitution,'' it said.

However, such disqualification of religious bodies should not be construed to mean that religious contents in broadcasting channels is to be disallowed, but such content should be in conformity with the appropriate content code or programme code as prescribed from time to time by the Government according to TRAI.

In case, permission has earlier been granted to such a religious body for a television channel, then the recommendations provide for an appropriate exit route within a time limit of three to four years to such religious bodies, it said.

UNI NAZ GL BD1530

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