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Srinagar:

On the orders of Governor N.N Vohra, the Home Department of Jammu and Kashmir has asked cable operators to block over 30 channels including many aired from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

In an order issued by the additional district magistrate, Srinagar, cable operators were directed to stop telecasting or transmitting such channels. The order states that in order to maintain law and order, it is necessary in
larger public interest and for the maintenance of peace and tranquility, to prohibit cable operators from transmitting TV channels not permitted by the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

The channels which are learnt to have been barred are: Peace TV (Urdu and English), ARY QTV, Madni Channel, Noor TV, Hadi TV, Paigam, Hidayat, Saudi Al-Sunnah Al-Nabawiyah, Saudi-Al-Quran Al-Karim, Sehar, Karbala TV, Ahli-biat TV, Message TV, Hum TV, ARY Digital Asia, Hum Sitaray, ARY Zindagi, PTV Sports, ARY Musik, TV One, ARY Masala, ARY Zauq, 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.

In May 2017, the government had asked all the deputy commissioners of the state to take action against the transmission of 34 non-permitted TV channels, including Pakistani and Saudi Arabian channels, saying that they had the potential to incite violence and create law and order situations in the Valley.

The order is a massive blow to cable operators since these channels had a strong following among the people of Kashmir. Amjad Noor, president of Cable Operators association, said that thousands of people are associated with the cable TV business in the Valley and the shutdown would not merely result in business loss but will curb viewer’s choice. He further stated that on one side, they face government orders such as this and on the other side, there is a huge public demand for these channels. “We fear that people will stop subscribing to cable TV as the channels which attract them won’t be there anymore,” he added.

Noor also said that cable operators were looking to go for a complete shutdown of operations if authorities do not revoke the ban.

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