India bans TV channel on grounds of good taste

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NEW DELHI - India has banned satellite television channel AXN, owned by a unit of Sony, for two months for showing programs such as the "World's Sexiest Advertisements," the government said  Wednesday.

In the past decade, there has been a sharp rise in the number of satellite channels airing in India and viewers and politicians have complained that some of the content is too risque for Indian sensibilities and culture.

"The government has prohibited the transmission and retransmission of the satellite channel AXN with immediate effect and up to March 15, 2007, throughout the country," Information and Broadcasting Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi told reporters.

Officials at Sony's offices in India were not immediately available for comment.

The channel was banned for showing programs which Dasmunsi said were against good taste or decency and "likely to adversely affect public morality."

The channel, which broadcasts across Asia, is owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, a unit of Sony Corp. It mostly broadcasts imported U.S. dramas such as "Alias," "Las Vegas" and "Nip/Tuck," a soap opera about plastic surgeons.

India banned Fashion TV, a cable channel that often shows models wearing skimpy clothes, in February 2002 for vulgarity but the decision was reversed a week later when the channel promised to adhere more closely to Indian sensibilities.
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