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Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Friday said he hopes media channels across the country will go off air for a day to support NDTV. In a tweet, the AAP leader said, “I hope the whole media goes off air for a day in solidarity wid (sic) NDTV”.
NDTV India, a leading Hindi news channel, has been asked to go off air for 24 hours by a government body comprising of I&B officials for its coverage on Pathankot attacks. According to the committee, the channel allegedly revealed “strategically-sensitive information” during the course of its coverage of the anti-terror operations at the Pathankot airbase earlier this year.
The government order has received criticism from various corners. Earlier on Friday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also criticized the central government’s actions and and said it showed that an “emergency-like situation” prevailed in the country. “NDTV ban is shocking. If Government had issues with Pathankot coverage, there are provisions available. But ban shows an Emergency-like attitude,” Banerjee said in a statement.
The Editors Guild of India also issued a statement condemning I&B ministry’s actions and said the order to take the channel off for a day is a violation of the freedom of press in the country.
NDTV refuted the allegations and said its coverage on Pathankot was ‘fairly balanced’ unlike most other news channels. “The order of the MIB has been received. It is shocking that NDTV has been singled out in this manner. Every channel and newspaper had similar coverage. In fact NDTV’s coverage was particularly balanced. After the dark days of the Emergency when the press was fettered, it is extraordinary that NDTV is being proceeded against in this manner. NDTV is examining all options in this matter,” NDTV’s statement said.
The first-of-its-kind order has imposed a blackout prohibiting “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 to 00:01 hrs of 10th November”.