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Government suspends two satellite television channels for a month without due process

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is an IFJ media release:

IFJ urges Indian Government to reconsider the unplugging of two satellite TV Channels

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) urges the Indian government to reconsider the summary termination of broadcast permission granted two satellite TV channels.

The IFJ understands that India Live TV has been ordered off the air for one month as a penalty for airing a fake "sting" operation, wrongly implicating a school-teacher in Delhi in a non-existent prostitution racket. Jeevan TV, a channel broadcasting from the southern state of Kerala, has similarly been unplugged for failure to comply with the revised guidelines for satellite uplinking and for airing news programmes without security clearance.

According to local reports, the case of India Live TV warrants prosecution under legal provisions covering multiple offences, such as falsification of evidence, extortion and incitement to violence. There is also a credible case to be made for lawful recompense to the school-teacher who suffered serious trauma and irreparable damage to her reputation on account of the fake "sting" operation.

Yet, the IFJ believes that to ban the channel for an arbitrary period of one month without due process serves no public purpose.

Jeevan TV, which has been broadcasting since July 2002, has similarly been ordered off the air without even an appearance of due process.

"Whatever their motivations, these actions of the Indian government only highlight its continuing failure to enact a credible regulatory framework for the broadcast sector," said Jacqueline Park, IFJ Asia Pacific Director.

The IFJ urges the Indian government to withdraw these orders.

"The law must be allowed to run its course in the case of India Live TV and Jeevan TV must be given a fair hearing in an appropriate forum before it is ordered off the air," Park said.

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 114 countries.

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