WITH THE UP assembly elections around the corner, the Akhilesh Yadav government is planning to raise a strategic demand during a meeting of information ministers to be hosted by the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry in New Delhi Saturday — allow the state to start a TV news channel.
While Akhilesh is in charge of the information department in UP, he has authorised his Minister for Trade Tax Yasar Shah to represent him at the meeting that is being convened after nearly 10 years. When contacted, Shah confirmed that his government would raise the demand Saturday.
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“I have been informed that the central government does not give permission to state governments to run their own TV news channels. It is a matter of concern. When private and government institutions are granted such permission, why not state governments?” said Shah.
Sources in the I&B Ministry said that UP government officials, tasked by the Chief Minister to push the idea, have already inquired about the possibility of starting the Samajwadi Party government’s own channel. But they were informed that state governments and assemblies would not be given such permission.
Early this year, the Centre had turned down a request from Delhi assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel to grant permission for a channel to be set up to telecast House proceedings, possibly on the lines of Lok Sabha TV and Rajya Sabha TV.