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CM Mufti directs IHK authorities to take action against 'unauthorised' Pakistani, Saudi TV channels

CM Mufti directs IHK authorities to take action against 'unauthorised' Pakistani, Saudi TV channels

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti directed all deputy commissioners in India-held Kashmir (IHK) to take action against 34 Pakistani and Saudi TV channels, after concerns that the content in these channels may incite violence and disrupt the law and order situation in the disputed region, Indian media reported Sunday.

Mufti issued the directive following the Indian government's order to take immediate steps and stop the unauthorised broadcast of Pakistani and Saudi Arabian channels in India-held Kashmir.

India's Home Department Principal Secretary R.K. Goyal released an order Saturday addressing all deputy commissioners, saying they have received reports of cable operators in India-held Kashmir "transmitting certain TV channels which are not permitted by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India".

"Transmission of non-permitted TV channels," the order said, "apart from violating the law, has the potential to encourage or incite violence and create law and order disturbances in the Kashmir Valley."

"As per Section 11 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, the district magistrate has the power to seize the equipment in case of a violation,” the order read.

Following the order, CM Mufti listed 34 channels belonging to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, including Zakir Naik's Peace TV which is banned in India, directing IHK deputy commissioners to submit a compliance report via email by Sunday.

The 34 channels include 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, Samaa News, Geo Tez, Express News and ARY News.

Earlier, authorities in IHK also ordered internet service providers to block popular social media services including Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp after an uptick in violence in the region.

The local government said the services were “being misused by anti-national and anti-social elements” and should be blocked for one month or until further notice “in the interest of maintenance of public order”.

It is the first time the government had taken such a step, although it regularly blocks the mobile internet signal in the volatile Kashmir valley.

IHK has been tense since April 9, when eight people including seven students were killed by Indian police and paramilitary forces during by-election violence.

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