Indian media face fury of BJP govt
New Delhi—Indian TV channels are facing the wrath of the BJP led government as after NDTV India, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has ordered a blackout of two more channels over alleged violations of its rules. Political observers said that exposes the government’s respect for freedom of expression.
‘News Time Assam’ a regional channel, has been to go off air on November 9 for multiple violations of programming guidelines. The Ministry has also directed that another ‘Careworld TV’ be taken off air for seven days from November 9 for allegedly broadcasting objectionable content.
NDTV India has been told it must go off air on Wednesday as penalty for its coverage of the terror attack on the Pathankot Air Force base in January.
NDTV has refuted the claims that its Hindi channel provided sensitive information during the terror attack and has said its broadcast offered no details that were not reported by other channels and newspapers, adding that it is considering all its options.
Expressing anguish about the Centre’s decision to ban the news-channel NDTV India and other channels for a day on November 9, journalists at a meeting in Bhopal strongly protested the move and decided to sport black bands in protest.
“We have unanimously decided to protest against the Centre’s decision to ban NDTV India for a day on November 9, and will sport black bands in protest till that day to express solidarity with the channel,” Friends of Media Convener and senior journalist Deepak Tiwari said.
Over 100 journalists attended the meeting where the Centre’s decision was termed as an attempt to curb the freedom of expression and freedom of press.
A resolution condemning the Centre’s decision was also passed at the meeting.
On the other hand, Congress’ Punjab chief Amarinder Singh has said that his party will hold a day-long protest on November 9 to coincide with the one-day ban on NDTV India and other channels if the Prime Minister fails to withdraw the order. On the ‘dark day for India’s democracy’, Mr Singh said, party workers would stage a sit-in outside the Governor’s house in Chandigarh. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi must withdraw the authoritarian orders passed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.—INP