The Mumbai Press club which represents over 2,500 journalists, strongly and unequivocally condemns the ban by the Union Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I&B) on the Hindi news channel NDTV India for purportedly airing “sensitive information” in respect of the Pathankot attack by terror groups near the border. The Club also demands that the ban, imposed for one day on 9 November, should be withdrawn forthwith.
NDTV India in its response to a show cause by the government has said that channel did not report anything which other channels and newspapers had not covered simultaneously. It is therefore mischievous to singles out a particular channel for such penal action.
Though there are various legal options available for the government in the Indian Court of Law for any irresponsible media coverage, the I&B ministry action of banning against a specific TV channel that has been critical of the government, and has done serious ground reporting on the views of the common man, does not augur well for freedom of expression of the country.
The I&B ministry’s order imposing the ban is vague and also does not disclose what specific clips or information can be termed ‘sensitive’ and ‘useful to the enemy’.
Any penal actions like the ban of NDTV India that infringes on media operating and reporting freely will be stoutly resisted by media persons everywhere.
Mumbai Press Club