Editors Guild condemns the one day ban on NDTV
Editors Guild of India has condemned the Information and Broadcasting ministry’s decision to take off air news channel NDTV India for a day.
In a statement released in Delhi, the guild said the decision by the Central government is a “direct violation of the freedom of the media and therefore the citizens of India and amounts to harsh censorship imposed by the government reminiscent of the Emergency.”
The ministry had issued a notice barring NDTV India of airing on November 9. An inter-ministerial committee found the channel guilty for it’s Pathankot reportage. It said the channel violated the broadcast norms which in turn led to the decision.
NDTV received the order stating to “prohibit the transmission or re-transmission of NDTV India channel for one day on any platform throughout India with effect from 00:01 hrs on 9th November, 2016, till 00:01 hrs of 10th November, 2016”.
Guild has however said there are so many other legal remedies available to take action against irresponsible media coverage.
Below is the full text of the statement.
THE EDITORS GUILD OF INDIA
The Editors Guild of India strongly condemns the unprecedented decision of the inter-ministerial committee of the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to take NDTV India off the air for a day and demands that the order be immediately rescinded.
The ostensible reason for the order as reported is that the channel’s coverage of the Pathankot terror attack on January 2, 2016 that the government claims gave out sensitive information to the handlers of terrorists. NDTV in its response to a show cause by the government has maintained that its coverage was sober and did not carry any information that had not been covered by the rest of the media, and was in the public domain.
The decision to take the channel off the air for a day is a direct violation of the freedom of the media and therefore the citizens of India and amounts to harsh censorship imposed by the government reminiscent of the Emergency. This first-of-its-kind order to impose a blackout has seen the Central government entrust itself with the power to intervene in the functioning of the media and take arbitrary punitive action as and when it does not agree with the coverage. There are various legal remedies available to both a citizen and a state in the Court of Law to have action taken for any irresponsible media coverage. Imposing a ban without resorting to judicial intervention or oversight violates the fundamental principles of freedom and justice. The Editors Guild of India calls for an immediate withdrawal of the ban order.