Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday flayed the NDA government’s decision to ban NDTV India for a day terming it as an “insult to freedom of expression.” “The central government’s decision to ban NDTV India is condemnable. The decision is tantamount to controlling the freedom of media. It is quite necessary to have a free and impartial media in a country like India,” Kumar said in a statement.
The decision of Information and Broadcasting Ministry to ban NDTV India for 24 hours on November 9 must be treated with strong contempt, Kumar, who is also JD(U) President, said. “The present central government’s decision to control media’s freedom is a complete disregard to the right to freedom of expression,” he said adding that media, which is considered as fourth estate in a democracy, also plays a very important role in raising people’s voice and concerns.
Just as legislature enacts laws, the executive implements them and the judiciary interprets them apart from punishing those who violates the law, the same way media, being the fourth estate in a democracy, has a very big role to play by creating awareness among the masses through debates and discussions on various contemporary issues, he added.
The I and B ministry while invoking the powers under the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act said it “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 hrs on 9th November,2016 till 00:01 hrs of 10th November, 2016”.
The inter-ministerial panel constituted by the I and B ministry had concluded that the channel ‘NDTV India’ had revealed crucial and “strategically sensitive” information when the terror attack on Pathankot IAF base was being carried out in January. The decision to put off the prominent TV channel for a day has attracted strong criticism from Congress, Trinamool Congress, RJD and now JD(U). The channel had maintained the said information was already in public domain.