The government has ordered an Assam-based news channel be taken off air for a day, following recommendations of a high-level panel which felt the channel had “violated” programming guidelines on more than one occasion. This comes in the wake of Hindi news channel NDTV India being ordered to taken off for a day.
An I&B ministry order dated November 2 has sought that the channel, ‘News Time Assam’, be taken off air on November 9 for a day. One of the allegations against the channel relates to telecast of a programme which revealed the identity of a minor who had been brutally tortured while working as a domestic help.
Observing that the visuals telecast by News Time Assam appeared to compromise the privacy and dignity of the child, while also exposing him to harm and stigma, a showcause notice was issued to the channel in October 2013. Having listened to the channel’s version, the inter-ministerial committee (IMC) which looked into the matter felt that the channel may be taken off air for a day.
According to the order, the matter was reconsidered as some other channels had also shown similar content, for which they had been issued warnings, but the committee looked at all the circumstances and again recommended taking it off air for a day. The same order also lists two other cases of alleged violations by the channel which were considered by the IMC. One of them related to telecast of gory visuals of bodies for which a recommendation was made to take off the channel for a day.
In another case the channel telecast a programme that allegedly appeared to be defamatory towards women and was in bad taste. The IMC had asked the channel to run an apology scroll but since it did not comply, taking it off air for a day was recommended. The I&B ministry order, dated November 2, mentions all the three cases and says that the “IMC clarified that the TV channel can be allowed to carry out the three awards of one day off air concurrently”.
Quoting rules under the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act, the ministry order said that the government “orders to prohibit the transmission or retransmission of News Time Assam TV channel for one day on any platform throughout India with effect from 00:01 hours on 9th November, 2016 till 00:01 hours on 10th November, 2016.” NDTV India has also been ordered off air for the same date over its coverage of the Pathankot attack. With PTI inputs