Both NDTV English and Hindi channels aired ‘sensitive’ details, but why ban only Hindi now?
As NDTV India has been directed to go off air for 24 hours on November 9 for allegedly violating norms in covering the Pathankot attack, the Central government was at the receiving end of criticism from media and political parties for the decision of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
While many took on the Narendra Modi-led government for its violation of the freedom of expression, few have doubted the motive behind the act questioning the selective ban on NDTV’s Hindi channel.
Arguing that both the NDTV English and Hindi channel showed “strategically-sensitive” details while covering the Pathankot terrorist attack, they have questioned the act of restricting one channel.
A twitter handler named Scotchy asked: NDTV English and NDTV ran the same footage. Then why ban only the Hindi version? Is this about Ravish?
NDTV English and NDTV ran the same footage. Then why ban only the Hindi version? Is this about Ravish?
— Scotchy (@scotchism) November 4, 2016
An inter-ministerial committee of the Information and Broadcast Ministry directed the Hindi channel go off air after claiming the channel broadcasted information on the ammunition stockpiled in the airbase, MIGs, fighter-planes, rocket-launchers, mortars, helicopters, fuel-tanks etc.
The committee argued that the channel aired “such crucial information” that could have been used by the terrorists and had the potential to “cause massive harm not only to the national security, but also to lives of civilians and defence personnel.”
Condemning the I&B ministry’s decision, the Broadcast Editors’ Association (BEA) has expressed concern on the government’s decision and demanded that the order be withdrawn immediately.
Firmly worded Editors’ Guild condemnation of ban on NDTVIndia. Correct to call it censorship, compare with Emergency pic.twitter.com/FDUU5myIBQ
— Shekhar Gupta (@ShekharGupta) November 4, 2016
All news channels, except one which routinely asks for media censorship, should run blank on 9 NoV in solidarity with ndtv India.
— M K Venu (@mkvenu1) November 4, 2016
Moreover, political leaders including AAP Chief Arvind Kejriwal and National Conference leader Omar Abdulla also criticized the act.
NDTV India ordered off the air, opposition leaders detained for wanting to show solidarity with family of dead solider. Ache din anyone?
— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) November 4, 2016
Commenting on the ban, NDTV said: It is shocking that NDTV has been singled out in this manner. Every channel and newspaper had similar coverage. In fact NDTV’s coverage was particularly balanced. After the dark days of the emergency when the press was fettered, it is extraordinary that NDTV is being proceeded against in this manner. NDTV is examining all options in this matter.