After the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) ministry decided to penalise Hindi news channel NDTV by taking it off air for a day, it has responded by issuing a statement. An inter-ministerial committee had recommended that the popular news channel is penalised for revealing ‘sensitive’ information, about the security forces during its coverage of the Pathankot terrorist attack. With the panel submitting its report to the ministry, the next step in the process is for it to ask NDTV India channel to go off the air for a day on November 9.
In a statement issued by NDTV, it says, “The order of the MIB has been received. It is shocking that NDTV has been singled out in this manner. 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. NDTV is examining all options in this matter.” Meanwhile, West Bengal CM condemned the ban and wrote on Twitter, “NDTV ban is shocking. If Govt had issues with Pathankot coverage,there are provisions available. But ban shows an Emergency-like attitude.”
According to the panel, this could well have “cause(d) massive harm not only to the national security but also to lives of civilians and defence personnel.” Among the compromised installations were stockpiles of ammunition in the airbase, MIGs, fighter-planes, rocket launchers, mortars, helicopters, fuel tanks and more. The panel added, this ‘was likely to be used by the terrorists or their handlers to cause massive harm’. If this comes to transpire, it will be the first ever such order passed and implemented against a TV channel. As the content appeared to be violative of the programming norms, a show cause notice was issued to NDTV India.