Belated criticism over NDTV India ban is clearly politically inspired: Venkaiah Naidu

The Union minister said the reactions that came a day after the government's decision was in public domain on November 3, 2016 was clearly an afterthought.
Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu

Defending the escalating criticism over the NDTV India channel ban for one-day, Information and broadcasting minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday said the “belated criticism” is clearly “ill informed and politically inspired” to create a controversy.

Speaking to reporters, Naidu said the belated criticism of the action proposed to be taken against NDTV India for violating the norms of live coverage of anti-terrorist operations by security personnel in Pathankot in January this year is clearly ill informed and politically inspired.

The Union minister said the reactions that came a day after the government’s decision was in public domain on November 3, 2016 was clearly an afterthought, suggesting a motivated design to create a controversy where none existed, according to a report in PTI.

The senior BJP leader that people of the country should know that the UPA government, during 2005-14, ordered several TV channels to go off air in 21 instances, for a period ranging from one day to two months for showing obscene visuals including 13 cases of telecasting ‘Adult’ rated certified films.

One channel was taken off air for 30 days for telecasting a sting operation, he said.

“People of the country are also wise enough to appreciate which of the two violations – showing obscene visuals at the stroke of midnight and risking the lives of defence personnel and civilians through a live telecast of anti-terrorist operations in broad daylight- is a serious threat to the interests of the nation including its sovereignty, integrity and security,” Naidu said.

He said the decision against the TV channel was not based on any newly invented rule and principle.

“The ground on which action has been proposed against NDTV India was only a logical conclusion of concerns clearly articulated by the UPA government in various advisories issued after 26/11 terror attacks on multiple targets in Mumbai in 2008,” Naidu said.

Rejecting criticism that compared the present case to Emergency, Naidu said many BJP leaders and a large number of activists were at the “worst receiving end of Emergency and would shudder to even think of doing the same to others and particularly, in respect of freedom of media.”

Therefore, the government is not required to approach the courts in such cases, as suggested by the Guild, he added.

“I leave it to the wisdom of the Editors Guild to ponder if the decision against NDTV India for the reasons explained, is really reminiscent of the dark days of Emergency,” he said.

Naidu said that very recently in an interaction, he had stressed that effective self-regulation by media is the best way of protecting its freedom and we are committed to it.