A day after BestMediaInfo.com reported about the Tamil Nadu government running a television channel, Tata Play has removed the state government-run Kalvi TV from its platform.
Kalvi TV is an educational channel launched by the Tamil Nadu government, apparently as a platform service, which found its way through various cable and DTH platforms just like any other satellite channel.
The channel was not registered under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) and was beamed across the country without an uplinking/downlinking licence.
The Constitution of India bars any government from taking up the broadcasting responsibility as it falls under the Union list.
Entry No. 31 in List I (Union List) of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India covers “posts and telegraphs, telephones, wireless, broadcasting and other like forms of communication”. Thus, only the central government, as per Article 246 of the Constitution, can legislate on those subjects.
The Supreme Court of India also in its judgement pertaining to the Bengal Cricket Association had held that broadcasting is entirely in the Central list and state governments cannot take broadcasting responsibility.
SC said that broadcasting belongs to the public and not to the government.
It is pertinent to note here that Prasar Bharati is a statutory body and not a Government of India body.
BestMediaInfo.com highlighted that Tamil Nadu government getting into broadcasting will set a dangerous precedent as its cable network Arasu Cable did a few years back.
Following in the footsteps of Tamil Nadu, the neighbouring state Andra Pradesh too found its way to secure a licence for IPTV network, namely AP State FiberNet Limited (APSFL).
Further, the Andhra government in July proposed to launch a news channel and said that being a government-run channel, all distribution platforms would be bound to carry it.
The first much publicised case of platform services making way to DTH platforms was BJP’s Namo TV during 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
However, the DTH platforms including Tata Play (earlier known as Tata Sky) confirmed that the channel was running as a platform service under a paid partnership between the platform and BJP.
BJP had shut down Namo TV after elections, saying that it was launched only for election purpose.
Despite pressure from media and opposition parties, the Election Commission of India did not stop Namo TV because a channel being operated by any party is not disallowed by law.
In today’s day and age, Sakshi TV to Sun TV and many more channels and newspapers are being run by political parties and politicians.
The difference between Namo TV and Kalvi TV is that the former was a party-run channel whereas Kalvi TV is a case of a government owning a channel, which is barred by the Constitution.