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Govt denies banning Arab TV channels

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Aug 23 (UNI) The government today vehemently denied reports emanating from a small section of the media that it had banned Arab TV channels like Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabia and Q TV under pressure from Israel, saying it was ''a malicious and baseless accusation by interested quarters''.

Making a statement on the issue in the Rajya Sabha, Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi said no channel in particular had been ''banned'' recently by his ministry.

He also reiterated that all these Arab channels had not yet applied to be downlinked in India, and gence, could not be transmitted/retransmitted through cable networks or DTH for public viewing in the country.

''However, they are still free to apply afresh for registration under the Downlinking Guidelines, if they so desire and they will have similar opportunities like others.'' The minister said under the policy guidelines for downlinking, issued on November 11 last year, 65 channels, which applied for registration, were allowed to be uplinked from abroad and beam their operations.

Mr Dasmunsi said a press note in this connection was issued on August 7 by his ministry. The External Affairs Ministry had also sent a detailed fax message on August 7 to all missions in the Gulf and WANA regions to to ''rebut the malicious and false information'' carried by some newspapers.

UNI SKS Vd GC1923

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