Going off air: Fearing assault,cable TV operators demand police protection

Police,however,said “this is a mere apprehension,there has been no report of any resistance so far”.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: October 12, 2012 1:30 am

The Cable Operators’ Association of West Delhi has sought police protection saying they feared being assaulted by consumers in the wake of the order making the switch to digitisation mandatory by October 31.

Police,however,said “this is a mere apprehension,there has been no report of any resistance so far”.

The West Delhi Cable Operators’ Association has requested the Minister for Information and Broadcasting to provide police protection in their offices and areas covered by them in view of mandatory digitisation.

They expressed fears that those consumers,who cannot afford to buy STBs (set-top boxes) and pay two to three times more for the channels they watch at present,may react violently and damage equipment at cable TV offices and create law and order problems.

In a letter to the I&B Minister dated October 7,2012,the association said: “The Ministry of I&B along with IBF (Indian Broadcasting Foundation),NBA (News Broadcasters Association),DTH operators,MSO Alliance and MSO (I) have taken a decision to switch off analogue cable TV channels progressively for a short time every day from October 10,2012,onwards to induce consumers to buy STBs and speed up digitisation. Also,the I&B Minister said the deadline of October 31,2012,for final switch-off in the four Metros of Delhi,Mumbai,Kolkata and Chennai will not be postponed.”

The Operators also complained about the fact that “not even a single broadcaster has conducted a public debate on their channels for making the public aware of their rights after they switch to digitisation and the money they would pay to see their choice programmes”.

“To avoid any law and order situation occurring after the switch-off,we request you to kindly direct the Home Ministry and the state governments to arrange police force at every cable operators’ office for such eventualities,” the letter further said.

When asked about providing police protection to the cable operators,Additional Commissioner of Police (West) V Renganathan said: “This is just a general apprehension,the letter does not mention any case of resistance. There has been no case of resistance or opposition to this mandate from any part of the city,and there is no case for providing police protection so far.”

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