Days after National Security Advisor Ajit Doval wrote a letter to Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth that the media was violating secrecy laws with impunity by airing “classified information”, the government departments were in the process of finalising a draft policy to prevent leakage of information.
Sources said each government department dealing with classified information had been asked to revisit the instructions and guidelines to prevent leakage of such information to the media.
On October 15, Doval wrote a letter to Seth that NDTV had aired a story that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was shown images of INS Arihant at an award ceremony organised by DRDO. “It is notable that the information televised by the media on Arihant submarine is a classified information. Obtaining such information is an offence under the Official Secrets Act. It has been observed that in the last few years, it has become a regular practice, particularly in the media to violate secrecy laws with impunity. Firm action need to be taken in such cases that undermine the national security of the country. As the leak most often emanates from government establishments, it may also be necessary to reiterate government instructions and guidelines on the subject to all Ministries/Departments dealing with classified information.”
Officials said there was already a set guideline for each ministry and department to share information with the media but that was being re-looked into.”There are designated officers in each ministry who are allowed to interact with the media. There are set procedures but certain loopholes are there, which will now be strictly reinforced,” said a senior government official. Following Doval’s letter, the Cabinet Secretariat wrote to Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami and asked him to take necessary advice in the matter.