Arab TV channels not aware of India’s new rules

DUBAI — Al Arabia, a prominent Arab channel, which went off the air in India, recently, claimed yesterday that they were not aware about the new registration rules set by Indian Government for downlinking the International TV channels.

By A Staff Reporter

Published: Thu 10 Aug 2006, 9:59 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 6:08 PM

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Jihad Ballout, official spokesperson of Al Arabia TV said "We are not aware about any registration rules set by Indian government. But, if that is the case and the Arabic channels went off the air in India, we as a responsible organisation respect the decision of the Indian government. We will look into the registration norms and if it is viable for us it would be great to expand our reach to India."

Ballout said he is not aware about any ban on Arabic channels imposed in India. However, he noted: “if the Arabic channels are banned in India following political pressure from Israel and US as the Arab News report suggests, we will appeal to the Indian government to re-consider their decision to allow freedom of expression. India is the largest democratic entity in the world and we have great respect for the country.”

While an Al Arabia official denied any suspected foul play by India in the Arab channels going off air, Al Jazeera, another other prominent channel airing anti-US and Israel reports on the Middle East conflict remained tight lipped about the issue. When contacted by the Al Jazeera in Doha, no officials were available for comment.

The recent controversy emerged following a report carried in a Saudi-based newspaper suggesting that the Arabic channels had disappeared from the television screens in India following a ban imposed by the Indian government. However, the Federal government in India has denied all the allegations branding the reports as ''malicious and misleading''.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Chandra Mohan Bhandari, Indian Ambassador to the UAE said: "India introduced a new rule in November last year in which all the foreign channels downlinking to India require a registration with the Indian government. The Indian government announced May 10 as the deadline for all the channels to register. It is the responsibility of the channels to know the rules if they wanted to air their programs to the country.''

''The rule is universal and is applicable to all the foreign channels. It is not a rule just of Arab channels,'' Bhandari said, adding, ''the controversy was a part of an inspired attempt to spoil relations between India and the Arab world.''

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