Friday, July 07, 2006

INDIA: CSF Petitions to Restart EWTN

Catholics Seek Government Help to Resume Religious Channels

June 28, 2006

Mumbai (ICNS) -- A Catholic group in Mumbai has sought government intervention to help restart telecast of two religious television channels that were ordered off the air in India.

The Catholic Secular Forum submitted a memorandum to the union minister for Information and Broadcasting P. R. Dasmunshi and minister for Affairs Minister A. R. Antulay on the issue.

The forum said the ministers’ intervention is needed for legally telecasting Islamic religious channel Q TV and Catholic channel EWTN all across India.

The two channels were ordered off the air after they failed to register with I&B ministry before the May 11 deadline set by the ministry.

Even though some cable operators continue to show these channels, it is illegal as per ministry’s orders, a forum press release said.

“It is shocking that even though explicit channels like Fashion TV, known for their frontal nudity have been banned, they continue to be telecast and damage the moral fabric of the country, while the government browbeats those religious channels, who do not protest much,” forum general secretary Joseph Dias said.

“Such a move can easily be seen to be discriminatory on religious grounds, as there are many Indian channels for the majority faith, while almost none exist for Catholics or the Muslim community,” the release said.Source: ICNS

Supplementary Comments:

On speaking to Victor Satish, one of the corporators of EWTN in India, it was learnt that the channel does not have any resident staff in the country, only volunteers. Hence a lack of sufficient communication with the office of EWTN's Regional Director for the Asia-Pacific region in the Philippines is understandable. However the registration request with the I&B Ministry was later complied with, but permission to restart legal telecasting in the country is still awaited. - Konkani Catholics

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