After the government imposed a 1-day ban on NDTV India for its Pathankot reportage, NDTV has issued a statement expressing shock. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued the order for shutting down the Hindi channel of NDTV for a day, stating that its coverage of the Pathankot Attack revealed “strategically sensitive details”. NDTV in its defense has stated that it is being singled out and during that period, “every channel and newspaper had similar coverage”.
One of India’s most sober and responsible channels NDTV India to be banned for a day by I and B ministry. NDTV today, who tomorrow?
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) November 3, 2016
— Jagrati Shukla (@JagratiShukla29) November 3, 2016
An inter-ministerial committee constituted by the I&B ministry recommended the action against the news channel alleging that it leaked crucial information during the January attacks. The government deemed that NDTV India had violated broadcast norms, which in turn led the order to be passed. The ministry has used the powers vested in it under the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act. 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”.
NDTV banned for speaking of strategic assets, schools, civilians at Pathankot while ops were on. So what about this? https://t.co/ex8LdmnwOs
— Siddharth (@svaradarajan) November 3, 2016
“After the dark days of the emergency when the press was fettered, it is extraordinary that NDTV is being proceeded against in this manner,” said the statement issued by the news channel join response to the government ban.
NDTV stated it is examining “all options in this matter.” The only option left in front of the news channel is to appeal in the tribunal against the order.
Giving out information on the counter-terror operations during a terror attack is in violation of the Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules, 2015, which prevent channels from airing live coverage of any anti-terrorist operation by security forces. It also states that media coverage cannot provide information of the site of attack and related details which would abet harm to security forces or compromise their plans to counter strike; news coverage has to be restricted to the periodic briefing by a designated officer till the conclusion of the operation.
Social media has witnessed raging debate over the development with opinion divided on the issue. Some claimed this to be the tactics adopted by the government to send a message to news anchor and executive editor Ravish Kumar. While some others pointed out that there are guidelines to be followed by media while reporting on sensitive issues and the action is justified.
This attack on NDTV Hindi news channel is primarily aimed at muzzling the voice of Ravish Kumar. He gets under the skin of BJP like no other
— Akshay Marathe (@AkshayMarathe) November 3, 2016