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Government bans Malayalam TV channel uplinking, court orders stay


New Delhi : The government has refused permission to Malayalam TV channel Jeevan TV to continue uplinking in India as it reportedly violated guidelines by telecasting news and current affairs programmes, but the channel says the Kerala High Court has stayed the order.

The government decision was taken after the home ministry did not give security clearance to the channel, promoted by the Catholic Church of Kerala.

“The channel had made a fresh application to conform to the revised guidelines, but failed to get security clearance,” the information and broadcasting ministry said here Friday.

The Jeevan TV channel, however, says the Kerala High Court had stayed the government order on Monday.

“The press note issued by the ministry of information and broadcasting today regarding an order about Jeevan Telecasting Corporation Ltd dated 11th September 2007 has been stayed by the High Court of Kerala on 17th September 2007,” a statement issued by the channel’s chief operating officer Christopher George said.

“In his order, Justice Antony Dominic…has stayed the (ministry) order for two months and permitted to continue the uplinking and downlinking of Jeevan TV, the infotainment channel of Jeevan Telecasting Corporation Ltd., Cochin,” the statement said.

“In fact, Jeevan TV has been making all efforts to regularise some of its company affairs, which have arisen after the introduction of new up-linking guidelines of (the ministry) in 2005.

“Jeevan Telecasting Corporation Ltd is an established and reputed telecasting company including news and current affairs channel. It was incorporated in 2001 and has been telecasting uninterruptedly since May 2002 onwards. We have been adhering to all statutory regulation and working with (the ministry) to comply with the regulations, which are issued from time to time.

“The company has informed the (high court and ministry) that it has initiated steps to comply with the remaining conditions sought by (the ministry),” the statement added.

All DTH service providers and cable operators have been instructed not to carry this channel on their DTH/Cable network, the ministry had said.

The channel had initially applied for uplinking permission in 2002 under the guidelines prevalent at the time. However, after the government promulgated separate guidelines for news and current affairs channels in November 2005, Jeevan Telecasting Corporation Ltd was asked to apply for fresh permission as it was also carrying news and current affairs programmes.

When the government promulgated separate uplinking guidelines for news and current affairs, all existing channels carrying news and current affairs in their programme content were asked to conform to these guidelines.

Jeevan TV became the fifth Malayalam news channel in the country when it was granted permission to uplink from India. The others were the regional Doordarshan Kendra, apart from Asianet, Surya and Kairali.

The channel was launched in August 2002 and was operating from a studio and uplinking centre located in Kerala’s commercial capital, Kochi.

Jeevan TV started broadcasting family entertainment programmes and claimed to have blended them with moral education. But soon news and education shows became the staple fare of the Malayalam channel.