TV channels go off air for Thackeray

Last Updated: Sun, Nov 18, 2012 19:20 hrs

While Mumbaikars were confined to their houses today, by those mourning the death of Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray, they were in for another shock as their daily dose of entertainment — the television — went blank. Many, who earlier had plans of going out on a holiday, found themselves sitting home, without being able to watch general entertainment channels.

Various multi-system-operators (MSOs), including Digicable, Hathway Cable and Datacom, Incable and 7Star, decided to block all entertainment channels after they were asked by Shiv Sainiks to do so as a sign of grief.

“Shiv Sena members were insisting we switch off all entertainment channels as a mark of respect to their deceased leader. All MSOs decided to switch off the signals till 6 pm,” a senior executive from a leading MSO told Business Standard, requesting anonymity.

While some MSOs switched off all channels except the news channels, others closed only Hindi language channels, while continuing to show English movies and entertainment channels.

However, all channels were airing on the direct-to-home (DTH) platforms.

This is one of the rarest incidents when the cable fraternity has switched off signals in a city like Mumbai on the death of a politician. Earlier, when Congress leader Madhavrao Scindia died in September 2001, all entertainment channels were off for three days in Gwalior, Scindia’s hometown.

But in Mumbai, it would have happened only for Thackeray, said a Shiv Sena worker. “People respected him. He held the pride of Marathi Manoos always high. The whole city is showing respect for him. We have not asked people to close down businesses, but still shopping malls, cinema halls, and the film city are closed today in his respect. So what’s the harm if entertainment channels are off just for one day?” he said.

The Mumbai Cable Operators Association is headed by Shiv Sena member of the Legislative Council Anil Parab.

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