The Supreme Court on Tuesday decided to hear next month the petitions filed by NDTV challenging the government's direction to its Hindi news channel NDTV India to go off air for a day.
The apex court decided to post the matter on 5 December after NDTV's counsel and senior advocate Fali S Nariman and Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said there was no real urgency as the decision to ban the transmission on 9 November has been put on hold by the government.
A bench comprising Justices AK Sikri and NV Ramana was told by the Attorney General that NDTV will be given a hearing by the inter-ministerial committee before whom it has made a representation for a review of the decision directing NDTV India to go off the air.
NDTV India Ban Put on Hold After Prannoy Roy Meets I&B Minister?
Earlier on Monday, NDTV had challenged the I&B Ministry's decision to ban its Hindi channel in the Supreme Court.
According to officials sources, NDTV co-chairman Prannoy Roy met Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday and discussed the ban.
Sources said that Roy, while referring to the decision of the Inter-Ministerial Committee which imposed the ban, argued that NDTV’s perspective in the matter "was perhaps not fully and adequately appreciated".
“Roy sought a review of the decision and said that till such time the order should be put on hold,” a senior official said.
Officials said that Naidu agreed to the request to review the decision and till that time the order has been put on hold.
It is learnt that Naidu said that rule 6(1)(p) related to media coverage of anti-terror operations was incorporated last year after a series of advisories were issued to media organisations by the previous UPA government.
The government had accused NDTV India of broadcasting sensitive details of the terror attack on the Pathankot airbase in January this year.
Other channels and newspapers had reported the same information, NDTV pointed out as it refuted the allegations.
Suparna Singh, Managing Director of NDTV, announcing the channel’s move to go to court on Twitter:
This decision to ban the channel for a day has not gone down well with journalists, activists and the opposition, with parallels being drawn to the Emergency of the 1970s, when the freedom of press was blatantly curtailed.
NDTV has received a lot of support from other papers and news channels. Janta Ka Reporter, a news website, to show solidarity, announced that they too would "blacken their website for at least an hour on the day NDTV India is to be taken off air".
The Editor's 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 Editor’s Guild of India