Government asks NDTV India to go off air on Nov 9 over Pathankot coverage
The Government of India on Thursday asked the broadcaster NDTV India to go off air for 24-hour on November 9 over the Pathankot terrorist attack coverage.
An inter-ministerial committee of the Information and Broadcast Ministry directed the Hindi channel go off air citing it had revealed “strategically-sensitive” details while covering the Pathankot terrorist attack.
NDTV India to be taken off air from Nov 9 (1PM) to Nov 10 (1PM) for wrongs in Pathankot coverage by I&B Ministry….24 hour blank screen
— J Gopikrishnan (@jgopikrishnan70) November 3, 2016
While covering the attack in January, the channel allegedly 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,” media reports said.
The ministry had issued a show cause notice to the channel earlier suggesting the content released appeared to be violative of the programming norms. The channel said it was a matter of “subjective interpretation” and the most of the information they revealed was already in public domain.
The Central government has earlier restricted live coverage of anti-terrorist operations by security forces in the country after 26/11 attacks. The media coverage during the 26/11 attacks allegedly helped terrorist involved in the attack to get real-time information on the operation.
Meanwhile, AAP head and Delhi Chief Minsiter Arvind Kejriwal asked the news channels in the country to take a lesson from the government’s decision to ban NDTV for a day.
Kejriwal tweeted: “Listen to me all you channels. Your channels too will be closed if you don’t continue to worship Modi ji.”
सुन लो सारे चैनल वालों। अगर मोदी जी की आरती नहीं उतारी तो आपका चैनल भी बंद कर देंगे। https://t.co/IWqyaNSvFX
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) November 3, 2016
Swaraj Abhiyan leader and senior Indian lawyer Prashant Bhushan also criticized the government decision saying “this is the most serious attack on media & free speech.”
Govt orders shutdown of NDTV for Pathankot coverage while it tomtoms surgical strikes!This is the most serious attack on media & free speech https://t.co/sLb3AAGhQx
— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) November 3, 2016
In 2007, the central government had banned Live India news channel for one month after telecasting of a sting operation implicating a school teacher in a sex racket.