Cable TV operators urge Govt to lift ban on Islamic channels

The Multi-System Operators (MSOs), who are the main players involved in Cable TV industry in Kashmir, on Monday urged the government to lift the ban on channels airing Islamic content.

The government has banned around 24 foreign channels including those which are airing Islamic content.

Speaking with Greater Kashmir, the cable operators said they request authorities to grant permission to air channels airing Islamic content.

“We were asked to stop airing 24 channels, including Islamic channels aired from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran. There is a tremendous demand for religious channels in Kashmir and as such we are under pressure from our subscribers,” said Amjad Noor, one of the cable operators.

Noor said the channels they were airing were purely Islamic channels and had nothing to do with politics or current affairs.

“We are in a catch-22 situation as we are unable to justify the ban to our subscribers. This is resulting in huge losses to our business and due to increasing competition by big players the day won’t be far when thousands of people associated with Cable TV industry in the Valley will lose their livelihood,” Noor said.

He said the government must reconsider the ban on the channels and allow them to air only those channels with pure religious content.

Noor said considering that Hajj was approaching demand for Islamic channels will also increase.

“This year, due to COVID19 the pilgrimage for people from different countries stands cancelled, so people are looking forward to watch the live telecast of Hajj on Saudi TV and Karbala TV,” Noor said.

He said since in 1997 the local Cable TV operators in Kashmir have been through lot of problems.

“Despite all odds, we managed to run the show. Banning the channels with good viewership is unjustified,” said another cable TV operator.

As per the MSOs, the channels that have been banned by the authorities in Kashmir include Peace TV Urdu, Peace TV English, ARY QTV, Madni Channel, Noor TV, Hadi TV, Paigam, Hidayat, Saudi Al-Sunnah Al-Nabaawiyah, Saudi Al-Quran Al- Karim, Sehar, Karbala TV, Ahli-Biat TV, Message TV, Hurn TV, ARY Digital Asia, Hum Sitaray, ARY Zindagi, PTV Sports, ARY Music, TV One, ARY Masala, ARY Zauw, A TV, Geo News, ARY News Asia, ABB Takk News, Waseb TV, 92 News, Duniya News, Samna News, Geo Tez, Express News and Ary News Asia.