Kapil Sibal
File image of Kapil Sibal | PTI
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Channel claims was blacked out of Airtel DTH for an hour Monday and alleges Tata Sky not providing slot. I&B ministry says channel seeking publicity. 

New Delhi: Just two days into its launch — it went on air on 26 January — Harvest TV (now known as HTN News), backed by Congress leader Kapil Sibal, has alleged that it is facing trouble with DTH operators and cable operators, allegedly at the behest of the Narendra Modi government.

Those associated with Veecon Media & Broadcasting, which runs the news channel, have alleged that the channel was not only blacked out at 2 pm for over an hour on Airtel’s DTH platform but has also been blacklisted by DEN Networks — a digital cable TV service provider.

They added that TATA Sky, another DTH platform, has allegedly refused to carry the news channel citing a lack of available frequencies. The channel is blaming the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) ministry.

Sibal too suggested that this was being done at the behest of the government.

“We will take Tata Sky to court if they don’t honour their commitment in a day or two,” he said. “There is this talk of freedom of speech but see what is happening.”

HTN News — a revamped version of Harvest TV — is operating on an old license procured from the ministry by Veecon Media & Broadcasting in 2011. There has, however, been no change in the channel’s shareholding pattern.

An I&B ministry spokesperson sought further time to comment but a top source in the ministry denied having intervened in any way.

“The channel should first get its house in order,” said the source in the ministry. “The Harvest logo is illegal. They have no permission to use the logo and the ministry will soon issue a show-cause notice to the channel and the teleport.”

The source said that “it has become stylish to blame the government and get publicity”.

ThePrint has sought a response through email from Tata Sky but it is yet to respond. This report will be updated once they do.


Also read: Modi govt hikes ad rates for private channels, looks to boost TV presence ahead of polls


‘Channel being harassed due to I&B ministry’

Deepak Choudhry, who is associated with Veecon Media & Broadcasting, told ThePrint that the harassment directed at the channel is allegedly being done at the behest of the I&B ministry.

Choudhry said that a third party (Kerala-based Christian devotional channel Harvest TV) had registered the Harvest TV logo in their name and had asked the channel not to use it. He added that the channel had formally requested the I&B ministry to change its name from Harvest TV to Tiranga TV but the ministry, he alleged, has been sitting on it for over a year.

“This is why we are still using the old logo. We have now initiated a legal process,” he added. “Since the matter is sub-judice, we can’t comment any further.”

He said that the channel had “changed its operating frequency, from 2Mbps to 3Mbps, for better picture quality” and alleged that the I&B ministry was also using this to target Harvest TV by directing Planetcast Limited, which is the teleport operator for uplinking of the channel on different satellites, to remove HTN News.

“We found out that the I&B ministry had asked them why the channel was being telecast on a new frequency. As a result, the channel was blacked out,” Choudhry alleged. “We have now asked them (Planetcast) to run the channel at the old frequency itself. The channel is back on Airtel but will take time to come back on DEN. The government is targeting us on flimsy excuses.”

Choudhry said that they were “shocked to discover the repeated attempts by the government to stop our broadcast”.

“On Monday, without any advance notice, the satellite signal of our channel was snapped on instructions from the Ministry of Broadcasting,” he said. “Technical reasons were used as an excuse for this unprecedented intervention.”

About TATA sky, he alleged that the DTH platform is also under government pressure to not broadcast the channel. “Despite all formalities being completed and payments being made, we still have not been given a slot,” he alleged.

  • The copy has been updated with the identification of the third party as the Kerala-based devotional channel Harvest TV.

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7 Comments Share Your Views

7 COMMENTS

  1. Where is the independence of media when it is backed by Kapil Sibbal- a Congress leader. Now, so called Unbiased media are shouting Propoganda Channel unlike in case of Republic tv… That’s the Hipocracy which makes me support the Bjp.

  2. Mr. Sibbal it happenex like your behaviour in parliament i saw live that you run away at answer by BJ.P. minister and enumerating achievments by Modiji like building toilets in rural areas etc etc. And your answer not only unprofessionL derogatory but so arrogant like u asked that person is talking about toilets when issue was 10% to economically backward class.
    Kapil like u ran away this poaer also ran away when newz came in your name.🤣😂😅😄😃🤔😏😆😁

  3. Govt of India should withdraw the permission granted in 2011 as in these 8 years the company didn’t used the permission

  4. SURPRISINGLY ONE PROPAGANDIST MEDIA IS SHOWING CROCODILE TEARS FOR ANOTHER PROPAGANDISTS & NEW MEDIA, OBVIOUSLY UNPOPULAR & UNASKED FOR BY VIEWERS WILL BE REFUSED BY DTH & CABLE OPERATORS IN NEW SELF SELECTED CHANNELS COMPULSION BY TRAI. KAPIL HAVE BEEN BLINDED BY LUST FOR POWERS & EVERY UNSUCCESSFUL RESULTS ARE VIEWED WITH MODI JI.

  5. Ironical that Kapil Sibal the defiant later he is fought a case for TataSky against TRAI is now threatening to sue TataSky.

  6. It should be much easier, almost a routine matter – subject to security clearance, which is another trip altogether – to get a licence for a TV channel. This lies at the intersection of Ease of Doing Business and the more consequential Freedom of Expression, which is devoid of content without media freedom. 2. This business of acquiring an existing licence brings back unsavoury memories of serious foreign telecom operators having to buy into firms that held coveted licenses cum spectrum but had no experience or resources to actually run a telecom business. 3. Vaise aajkal inn cheezon se fark nahin padta hai. Social media is doing a wonderful job filling in gaps in coverage by mainstream media.

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