The Supreme Court will hear on Tuesday the petition filed by the New Delhi Television (NDTV) against a government order banning telecast of its Hindi-language news channel NDTV India for a day.
The matter is likely to come up for hearing before a bench headed by Justice AK Sikri.
Stating that the one-day ban on its channel is “illegal and unconstitutional”, NDTV has challenged the constitutional validity of the government order and the provisions of the Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules, 2015 saying the content control can’t be in the hands of the executive.
It has also highlighted the need for a statutory body to look into such issues before any ban is imposed.Under Rule 6(1)(p) of the Cable TV Network (Regulation) Act, no programme should be carried in the cable service which contains live coverage of any anti-terrorist operation by security forces, wherein media coverage shall be restricted to periodic briefing by an officer designated by the appropriate government, till such operation concludes.
The petition filed by advocate Vijay Lakshmi Menon said that the channel was singled out by the government and there has been no violations of any law as the “sensitive information” was already in the public domain and every channel and newspaper had similar coverage.
“In fact, NDTV’s coverage was particularly balanced. After the dark days of the emergency when the press was fettered, it is extraordinary that NDTV is being proceeded against in this manner,” the broadcaster had said in a statement to BSE.
The government on November 3 had accused it of broadcasting “sensitive details” of the January’s terror attack on the air force base in Pathankot. An inter-ministerial committee set up by the I&B ministry had held the channel in violation of the programming code of the Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules, 2015.
The channel had allegedly revealed the exact location of the suspected Pakistan-based terrorists involved in the attack on the Pathankot air base, the committee had said in its recommendations, released by the I&B ministry last Thursday.