NDTV Ban: Mamata Is ‘Shocked’; Kejriwal Asks Media to Go Off Air

“I hope the whole media goes off air for a day in solidarity with NDTV,” Arvind Kejriwal tweeted.

3 min read
NDTV India has been penalised for its Pathankot terror attack coverage. (Photo: iStockPhoto/<b>The Quint</b>)

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said he hoped the "whole media" will go off air for a day to express solidarity with the Hindi news channel NDTV India, which has been penalised for its Pathankot terror attack coverage.

Kejriwal also hailed the Editors Guild of India for what he said was standing up to the Centre's decision vis-a-vis the news channel.

Other politicians have also raised concerns against the ban that NDTV had to face for allegedly breaching broadcast norms in its coverage of the attack on Pathankot Air Force base in Punjab in January.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the ban on NDTV was "shocking" and shows an "Emergency-like attitude".

The AAP on Friday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of strangling the fourth pillar of democracy and said that by banning NDTV broadcast Prime Minister Narendra Modi was taking the country back to the days of Emergency.

At a press conference, AAP leader Sanjay Singh warned BJP of dire consequences as the Congress had faced in 1977.

We would like to remind the BJP that the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi gagged the media in 1975 and the country’s people cleaned up the Congress in 1977. We want to request the BJP and the PM (Modi) not to encourage the politics of hate.

Omar Abdullah, Ahmed Patel and other prominent personalities condemned the BJP’s crackdown on freedom of speech. Senior Congress leader from Gujarat, Ahmed Patel also retweeted an older tweet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi from 2012, where he protested against suppressing free speech to point out the irony.

AAP Spokesperson Ashutosh encouraged the Editors Guild's support towards NDTV.

The Editors Guild of India on Friday condemned the "unprecedented decision" of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to take NDTV India off the air for a day and demanded that the order be immediately rescinded.

The Guild said in a statement that the decision was a direct violation of the freedom of the media, and therefore of the citizens of India, and "amounts to harsh censorship imposed by the government reminiscent of the Emergency."

Chairperson of Delhi Women’s Commission also questioned the attack on institutions.

As a show of solidarity, 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.
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