Several opposition parties have strongly criticised the inter-ministerial panel’s order handing 24-hours long ban to the Hindi news channel NDTV India. The panel, constituted by Information and Broadcasting ministry, had on Thursday concluded that the channel revealed crucial and strategically sensitive information during their live coverage of terror attack on Pathankot air base early this year.
NDTV India has now been ordered to remain off-air with effect from 00:01 hrs on 9th November till 00:01 hrs of 10th November.
Reacting to the development, the Congress party alleged that the government action smacked of “authoritarianism and intimidation”, while its vice president Rahul Gandhi termed it “shocking and unprecedented”.
“Detaining opposition leaders, blacking out tv channels – all in a day’s work in Modiji’s India.
#NDTVBanned-shocking & unprecedented,” Rahul Gandhi said on Twitter.
Also taking to social media to hit out at the government, senior party leader Digvijay Singh said “It is only a beginning of BJP Model of Good Governance and their expertise of Media Control”.
“Don’t tell me later I didn’t warn you! I may be seen to be speaking out of turn but I know these people better than any of you. Good Luck,” Digvijay Singh said in a series of tweets, exhorting if other media houses would protest against the order against the channel.
“Would they also show courage and go off air and not print Newspapers on 9th November?” he asked.
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, who is also political secretary to party president Sonia Gandhi, said, “Government’s decision to ban NDTV India smacks of authoritarianism and intimidation…” writing on twitter.
This is the first ever such order against a TV channel over its coverage of a terror attack, the norms regarding which were notified last year.
Earlier in the day, The Editors Guild of India, Broadcast Editors’ Association (BEA) and Press Club of India condemned the move and demanded the Central government that the order be withdrawn immediately.
Adding to the leaders who criticised the decision of inter-ministerial panel, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said it showed that an “emergency-like situation” prevailed in the country.
“NDTV ban is shocking,” she said, adding “If Government had issues with Pathankot coverage, there are provisions available. But ban shows an Emergency-like attitude”.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah too lashed out at the Centre saying, “NDTV India ordered off the air, opposition leaders detained for wanting to show solidarity with family of dead solider”.
(With inputs from the PTI)