External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told reporters that the information and broadcasting ministry, in its December 4 reply in the Lok Sabha on the issue, had said that under Indian laws "you require permission for down-linking of TV channels to India".
"There are approximately more than 90 TV channels which are of foreign origin which are down-linked legally in India. Any channel which has not sought this permission is technically in violation of our norms and regulations", he said, adding that the 24 TV channels are "the ones which neither have sought that permission nor has such permission been given. That is where it is."
The spokesperson added that the information and broadcasting ministry's answer said that "some of these TV channels are, in the view of some of our agencies, considered to carry anti-national information". However, the ministry has "not listed any names as to which of these 'some' that they pertain to".
"But yes, the fact is correct that none of those 24 channels has sought permission for down-linking into India and have not been granted permission. So, to that extent they do not conform to Indian laws for transmission of TV channels to India," the spokesperson said.
Over the last three years the list has remained almost the same, barring one or two of the channels that had sought permission and been granted this for down-linking, he said.
"So, this is neither new information, nor is it targeted towards any of those channels, nor does it indicate which of these TV channels are assessed by some of our security agencies as containing content which is perceived by them as anti-national. But the issue is not whether they are anti-national or not. The issue is that they do not conform to Indian regulations," the spokesperson added.