I&B Govt orders NDTV India to go off air for 24 hours

I&B Govt orders NDTV India to go off air for 24 hours. The Information and Broadcasting (I&B) ministry on Thursday issued an order prohibiting transmission of the channel on “all platforms” after an inter-ministerial committee (IMC) concluded that NDTV India revealed “strategically sensitive” details while reporting the terror attack on an Indian Air Force base in Pathankot on January 4.

“The central government in exercise of its powers conferred by the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, and the guidelines for uplinking from India, orders to prohibit the transmission or re-transmission of NDTV India channel for one day on any platform throughout India with effect from 00:01 hours on November 9 till 00:01 hours of November 10,” the ministry said.

Ban on live coverage

This would be the first such prohibition order against a broadcaster over its coverage of terrorist attacks. Last year, the Centre had put a ban on live coverage of anti-terror
operations.

“This was a matter of national security. The channel had revealed sensitive details like the location of an ammunition depot viz-a-viz the place where the terrorists were holed up, location of schools and residential areas,” the IMC noted.

As the (anti-terror) operation was still going on, such “crucial information” could have been “readily” picked up by the handlers of the terrorists. This could have caused “massive harm not only to the national security, but also to civilians and defense personnel”, it added.

The IMC, which looks into the violations of programme code by channels, had first recommended for putting NDTV India off air for 30 days under the provision of the Cable Act “for causing threat to the national security through its programme”.

The intern-ministerial panel, however, later recommended for a imposing a “token penalty” on the new channel by ordering it to remain off air for “one day” (24 hours), taking a more lenient view.

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