NEW DELHI: Amid widespread criticism from different sections of the society and a formal request from the management of the NDTV to review the 24-hours ban on it, the Union Information and BroadCasting minister Mr.Venkaiah Naidu announced that his ministry will review the decision based on the arguments made by the NDTV, respecting the democratic principles to which his government is bound by.
The NDTV India channel ban issue will now be reconsidered by the inter-ministerial committee. Explaining the rationale behind the decision, Mr.Venkaiah Naidu said, “The NDA government believes in democratic principles. The managing director of NDTV has met me and requested for a review of the decision. After due consultation, the ministry has decided to give NDTV a chance to defend its case during the review hearing”.
Taking a dig at the opposition for criticizing the government, the minister said that it not fair to the Indian National Congress party in the opposition, to talk about the freedom of speech and expression seeing what it has done in the past. “We are hearing many political statements on this decision. The INC says that it is an assault on freedom of speech and expression. Then, I would like to question the INC on what it has done when it was in power?. Who imposed meaningless restrictions on the media during the emergency time?. The then UPA government has banned 21 channels on a whole, citing adult content being aired during the night time. Unlike the INC, our government has taken this path to protect our national security”.
The NDA government has banned two news channels viz., News Time Assam and NDTV Hindi 24/7 for violating the rules and regulations by airing objectionable content compromising national security.
There has been a widespread protest from the NDTV and other media houses following the government’s decision to ban the channels for one day. However, the government batted for its stance on national security. According to the inter-ministerial committee appointed by the Information and Broadcasting ministry, NDTV has reportedly violated norms by airing content compromising the national security during the Pathankot attacks. Also, the committee considered the case as a repeated offense despite being warned on several occasions.
On the other hand, the NDTV claims that it was not the only channel to air the same piece of information during the Pathankot attacks. It has also moved the Supreme Court of India to declare the decision of the Union government as unconstitutional. The Supreme Court is likely to take up the petition on Tuesday.