NDTV India Ban: Journos Fume, Website Goes Offline in Solidarity

The ban was condemned by the Editors Guild of India and several prominent journalists on Twitter.

2 min read
NDTV calls the move by the government “shocking”. (Photo: NDTV/The Quint)

A day after it came to light that the Information and Broadcasting (IB) Ministry has issued an order imposing a one-day ban on TV channel NDTV India for its coverage of the Pathankot attacks, the journalist community strongly condemned the move.

The Editors Guild of India issued a statement in which it vehemently opposed the move by the Central government.

The Editors Guild of India strongly condemns the unprecedented decision of the inter-ministerial committee of the Union Ministry of Information Broadcasting to take NDTV India off the air and demands that the order be immediately rescinded. The first-of-its kind order to impose a blackout has seen the Central government entrust itself with the power to intervene in the functioning of the media and take arbitrary punitive action as and when it does not agree with the coverage.
The Editors Guild of India

The statement further said that the move by the government “is a direct violation of the freedom of the media” and condemned the absence of any “judicial intervention or oversight” on the issue.

Moreover, as a show of solidarity, news website Janta Ka Reporter announced its decision to go offline for a day. In a report, it wrote,

The recommendation to impose a one-day ban on NDTV India is utterly disturbing...NDTV has been one of the more responsible media houses in India even though its recent editorial decision to not broadcast the former Union Home Minister P Chidambaram’s interview on the political fallout of Uri attacks, had drawn flak even from us. The power to take punitive action against a media entity should never rest with politicians.

Janta Ka Reporter wrote that they have taken such a step to ensure editorial independence.

As a token protest against the I&B Ministry’s recommendation and in support of the channel, we’ve decided to blacken our website for at least an hour on the day NDTV India is to be taken off air. Our decision has been taken to ensure editorial independence at a time when we are facing an unprecedented attack on the fourth pillar of democracy in India. It’s NDTV today, it may be us tomorrow.

NDTV came out with a statement regarding the ban, saying that the decision was “shocking”.

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.
NDTV statement 

Various individual journalists too came out on Twitter strongly opposing the ban.

The order, which was issued on the basis of the recommendation of an inter-ministerial committee, says that NDTV India’s coverage of the Pathankot attacks revealed “strategically sensitive” information.

The order mandates prohibiting “the transmission or re-transmission of NDTV India channel for one day on any platform throughout India with effect from 00:01 hrs on 9 November till 00:01 hrs on 10 November.”

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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