It has been a long debated topic if an Independent news Channel can be banned. Some regard it as a blow to freedom of speech, others view it as a ramification of uncensored broadcasting of news. But nevertheless, is a complete ban justifiable is the fore lying question.
The Charges against the channel:
On January 29, the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting served a show cause notice to NDTV’s Hindi channel for its coverage of the militant attack on the Pathankot airbase in Punjab. The notice accused NDTV India of broadcasting “strategically sensitive information” which was “likely to be used by the perpetrators to put impediment in the counter-operations carried by the security forces”.
The notice was served to NDTV India under the program code, a list of broadcast rules made by the Union government as per the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act of 1995, which was amended in 2015 to prohibit “live coverage of any anti-terrorist operation by security forces… till such operation concludes.”
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.
“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.
After the decision to ban NDTV, politicians and various media groups have jumped in taking advantage of the situation. While some of them are accusing Modi Government of suppressing media, others condemn the act of compromising national security.
“If only one channel is pulled off air then it’s a problem. There were several others who aired the coverage of the attack but no action was taken against them,” said media personality Rajdeep Sardesai.
“Broadcast Editors’ Association expresses deep concern at the government’s decision to ban NDTV India for a day. Imposing a ban is a violation of freedom of expression and the decision should be withdrawn immediately. BEA would go into the issue in detail and come out with a comprehensive report on it.”
Caravan magazine’s political editor Hartosh Singh Bal and Editors Guild Treasurer Seema Mustafa also condemned the ban. Bal took a jibe at Prime Minster Narendra Modi, calling him “not a great respecter of freedom of press”.
Responding to the criticism, a senior BJP leader said, “Such reactions that came a day after the Government’s decision was in public domain on November 3, 2016, was clearly an afterthought, suggesting a motivated design to create a controversy where none existed.”
On the other hand, their political rival took to twitter. NDTV India ban is “shocking and unprecedented,” says Rahul Gandhi.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also criticized the central government for putting a one day ban on a Hindi news channel and said it showed that an “emergency-like situation” prevailed in the country.
With the polarization of Banned, the real debate, if Banned is Justifiable or no still remains hanging in air.