Guess who’s under India’s censorship radar this month? NDTV!
The channel received a notice from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to go off air for one day (9th November 2016) as a penalty for their coverage on a particularly sensitive issue, which didn’t comply with the prescribed code of conduct.
So, what did they say?
A reporter from the channel disclosed information about the terrorists involved in Pathankot attack being dangerously close to a weapons depot. On grounds of broadcasting this sensitive information, a 24-hour ban was imposed on NDTV for violating the Programme Code under Cable Televisions Network (Regulations) Act, 1995. NDTV denied doing anything that other news outlets hadn’t already done and applied for a stay on the ban, essentially challenging the Government’s order in the Supreme Court.
Let’s see what everybody else has to say about this…
“Of course, we are not happy and are condemning the decision for this “uncalled for censorship”. The Press Council of India is also supporting us. As noted by the Editors’ Guild of India, it is definitely presumptuous of the government to give itself the power to interfere with our functioning as and when it does not agree with our coverage. This dictatorial act of government reminds us of the Emergency period in 1975! We stand with NDTV.”
“National security is more important than news coverage. We support an independent media to disseminate information to the public but not at the cost of national security. Like Mr. Venkaiah Naidu said, the channel’s footage was against the national security and hence, it’s liable to be punished.”
“Sounds eerily similar to the Emergency of 1975, doesn’t it? All media should show their support by going off air. This ban is just PM Modi misusing his power, trying to control the people by imposing an unnecessary ban.”
The 24-hour ban has been postponed for now and the fate of NDTV will be decided through the Supreme Court’s decision on 5th December, 2016. Until then, the application and details will be reviewed.
What do you think? Was the decision uncalled for or did the channel have it coming? Is this censorship another attack on the already threatened freedom of the press in the country?
Side Note: NDTV India was not the only channel to be censored like this. News Time Assam was also banned, the latter on the grounds of revealing the identity of a minor who was brutally tortured working as a domestic helper. The Assam based channel however, reluctantly accepted the ban and abided by the Government’s order while NDTV did not.