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Leading News Channel Banned For Jeopardizing National Security…

  • Hiral Patel
  • November 4, 2016
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The NDA Government in its latest action has made it clear, that it will not compromise on issues pertaining to national security. The government has directed NDTV (Hindi news channel) to go off air for 24 hours. The order will come into effect from midnight on November 9. The action was taken for allegedly jeopardizing national security while covering the terror attack on Pathankot airbase in January.

Media empowerment is a sign of true democracy, a medium to communicate with the youth and the entire world. Media definitely has a responsibility on its shoulders and it should act wisely when dealing with sensitive issues. The time has come when some introspection by the Indian media is required. Many people, not only those in authority but even ordinary people, have started saying that the media have become irresponsible and wayward, and need to be reined in.

This is the first time that a broadcaster has been penalized over coverage of a terror attack. In its order, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry had said, that the channel’s anchor and reporter had revealed sensitive information during the coverage of the attack. The channel had disclosed sensitive information like ammunition stockpiled in the airbase, fighter planes like MIGs stationed at the base along with rocket launchers, mortars and fuel tanks. This was being telecast, while the operation to flush out the terrorists was still on at the airbase.

The terrorists who were hiding in the airbase could have been in touch with their handlers; such sensitive information could have been used by them. In such a case, it could cause massive harm not only to national security but also to the lives of civilians and defence personnel.

The channel is in denial and is claiming to have been singled out. The panel said that the channel had given the location of an ammunition depot, a school and residential premises vis-a-vis the space where the terrorists were holed up and recommended that the channel be taken off air for 30 days as penalty for causing “threat to national security”. It later restricted the ban period to a day.

In June 2015, the I&B ministry had introduced a new clause in the programme code that said broadcasters were prohibited from “live coverage of any anti-terrorist operation by security forces, wherein media coverage shall be restricted to periodic briefing by an officer designated by the appropriate government till such operation concludes”.

 

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