J-K govt wants only praise on TV, warns channels

State government threatens action under Public Safety Act if anti-government content is aired by local channels

shamim meraj | February 5, 2010



The J&K government has warned local news channels against airing ‘anti-government’ content as situation Srinagar continues to be tense.

The owners and editors of a few local channels were called for a meeting with top civil and police officials on Thursday afternoon and told to remove anti-government content with immediate effect or face strong action. They were told that they could be booked under the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA).

The officials seem to be upset at the local channels going hammer and tongs at the news of a former militant Momma Kanna getting the Padma Shri award. The channels have also been showing the footage of a clash between the security forces and the protesters that took place earlier this week during a bandh organized to protest police atrocities.

A channel owner confirmed the news and said that they were indeed told to comply with the government directive or face jail.  They were also told to stick to the guidelines given to them and carry out ‘self-censorship’. They were provided details of when and for how long they had aired ‘separatist content’ on their news bulletins.

During the Amarnath land row the government had, in a similar manner, forced the cable news owners to take news bulletins off air. Later they were allowed to air news bulletins with ‘regulated content’.
 

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