Image Source: Jennifer Moo ( Flickr)
The decision of the I&B Ministry to ban NDTV channel for one day has reportedly been put on “hold”. On 2nd November, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry had made its order public that sought to ban NDTV India for a day on 9th November, amid concerns that it had revealed sensitive information during its coverage of the 2nd January 2016 Pathankot terror attack. But now, as per multiple newspapers’ websites, the Ministry has decided to review its decision and put the ban on hold.
This has come when on the same day NDTV Ltd. – the parent company which operates NDTV India – had approached the Supreme Court and had questioned the constitutional validity of government action. Following that, NDTV co-chairman Mr. Prannoy Roy met I&B Minister Mr. Venkaiah Naidu and discussed the issue. As per TOI, Roy contended that the perspective of NDTV in this regard “was perhaps not fully and adequately appreciated”, and requested Mr. Naidu to review the Ministry’s order.
The one-day NDTV ban has drawn strong reactions from media houses, government officials and general public. Mr. Naidu, while referring to an alleged leak of sensitive information by NDTV during the 2008 Mumbai attacks, said that “NDTV India has been found to have violated this provision and was found to be unrepentant about what they have done.” Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar told reporters, “I will convey your apprehensions and worries to the I&B Minister. But I feel that apart from violating guidelines pertaining to such coverage, this issue has something to do with security. Therefore, I will also tell them that the reasons behind it should be conveyed to the media.”
On the other hand, The Editor’s Guild of India released a statement saying the Guild “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of Information and Broadcasting to take NDTV India off the air for a day and demands that the order be immediately rescinded.” In its defence, NDTV mentioned that every channel and newspaper had similar coverage, and that only it was being singled out which was worrisome. Some people also argued that NDTV did not give out any information that wasn’t already available for the terrorists to obtain.