Amid widespread condemnation over the one-day ban imposed on NDTV India, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) on Monday decided to put on hold its order against the prominent Hindi channel, according to news agency PTI.
The decision was taken following a meeting between I&B Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and NDTV promoter Prannoy Roy. The minister said the NDTV leadership presented an appeal to him, to which he said he will have a look and then decided that the government directive will be on hold till the process is completed.
WATCH VIDEO: One-Day Ban On NDTV India Put On Hold: Find Out More
Earlier in the day, NDTV has challenged the one-day ban by the government after an inter-ministerial panel concluded that the channel had revealed crucial and “strategically sensitive” information when the terror attack on Pathankot IAF base was being carried out. The channel has moved the Supreme Court in this regard.
In a report on its website, NDTV has said that it refuted the allegations and “pointed out that other channels and newspapers reported the same information”. The ban is supposed to be implemented from 00:01 hrs on November 9, 2016 till 00:01 hrs of November 10, 2016.
This is the first ever such order against a TV channel over its coverage of a terror attack, the norms regarding which were notified in 2015. The Editors’ Guild has condemned the ban and demanded that the decision be withdrawn immediately, saying it was reminiscent of the emergency period.
“The ostensible reason for the order as reported is that the channel’s coverage of Pathankot terror attack on January 2, 2016 that the government claims gave out sensitive information to the handlers of terrorists. NDTV, in its response to a show cause by the government, has maintained that its coverage was sober and did not carry any information that had not been covered by the rest of the media, and was in the public domain,” the statement read.
It added that the decision to take the channel off air for a day was a violation of the freedom of media.
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The government, however, has defended the ban, saying freedom of press is important but the nation comes first. “We support freedom of press in a democracy but the nation comes first. There cannot be any compromise on national security,” BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma said.
The decision drew sharp condemnation from the Opposition.