Towards this, the joint secretary-level official, Vikram Sahay held a two-hour-long meeting with a group of cable operators in Srinagar. According to the operator, the ministry official read out the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act, 1995 to the operators and asked them to adhere to it strictly.
A local cable operators said: “The official told us, in categorical terms that all the channels from Iran, Turkey, Malaysia, and Pakistan should be blocked.”
The official said: “You should read the Act carefully and adhere to it in letter and spirit. If you do not follow, you are violating the Act.”
LCOs told the official from the I&B ministry that they were airing an Iran-based Sehar channel and a Saudi Arabia-based Al-Arabiya channel.
An LCO said: “We informed the official that certain sections of the population in Kashmir, including the Shia community, watch these channels keenly for religious programs. The official, however, insisted that both the channels should be banned as per the central regulations.”
During the meeting, which took place at the information department’s Srinagar office, the official also sought information about the most-watched programs in Kashmir.
He added: “We told the ministry official that people follow debates on news channels for entertainment purposes. The official laughed in response.”