Rajyavardhan Rathore
Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Colonel Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.IANS

At least 24 unauthorised foreign TV channels, including 11 from Pakistan, are being transmitted by cable operators in the country illegally and the Intelligence Bureau has warned the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting that some content may be a security concern.

Minister of State for the I&B ministry Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said in the Lok Sabha last week that the intelligence bureau has forwarded a list of the unauthorised channels to the ministry and has warned that 'contents of some of these channels may not be conducive to the security environment'.

Only 84 foreign TV channels currently have the permission to be downlinked in India after they are uplinked from abroad, Rathore said in Parliament last Friday in response to a question on foreign TV channels in the Lok Sabha. 

Pakistani channels such as Dawn, Express and QTV feature on the list of the unauthorised channels, along with others such as Saudi TV and Dubai's Peace TV.

These channels had been flagged by the Intelligence Bureau earlier as well, with previous reports citing these as 'hate channels' with 'anti-India' content.

Many of these Pakistani channels are transmitted in Jammu Kashmir and Punjab, according to a India Today report from 2012,  while channels from Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh are watched more in the north-eastern states in the country. 

Rathore said that the I&B Ministry had taken up the issue with state governments and had also issued strict advisories to the to associations of Multi System Operators and Cable Operators to adhere to the provisions of the Programme Code prescribed in Rule 6 of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994. 

Earlier this year, the government had authorised 36 TV channels to be uplinked from India and downlinked abroad.