Even though Director of Information & Publicity Menino Peres assured that local television news channels were not sought to be targeted, the recent move by the State government to force cable operators in the State to comply with Central Government’s laws and rules is seen as an attempt to target the local news channels.
In an order issued by Mr. Peres, all cable operators in the State have been ordered “not to carry or include in their cable service any television broadcast or channel, which has not been registered by the Central Government for being viewed within the territory of India”.
Cable operators have also been asked to furnish an Affidavit within a month testifying to their compliance with the above order. Failure to comply with this order could result in violators not only being fined but also serving a jail sentence.
Many perceive this as a move by the government to gag the media from disseminating information. The government’s image took a major drubbing during the recently concluded assembly session and the opposition gained respect and admiration from the common man who could see the proceedings live on their television sets at home through the cable network as news channels in Goa were telecasting the proceedings live.
Particularly irksome for the government was the failure of many of its ministers to stand to the grilling by opposition and what the general public could see was that the government was not able to answer the opposition’s charges and onslaught.
This has dented the government’s image amongst the public and Chief Minister’s assertion that his government is for the common man is being replaced by the belief that the government is keener in protecting the corrupt and inefficient ministers and their kin.
However, Mr. Pires asserted that the circular could not be applied to the local news channels and was merely a measure to ensure compliance with the country’s laws and rules by the cable operators. It would be pertinent to point out that there have been reports that in some parts of the State, channels banned by the country, particularly those alleged to be fermenting fundamentalist ideas, are being aired.
He argued that since the news channels in Goa are not satellite channels but merely service providers, the circular would not be applicable to them.