#NDTVBan, Justified? I guess so!

Recently all my Facebook timeline and Twitter feed was filled with opinions, talks, thoughts, arguments and much more! I wanted to know more so I started reading. Let’s put things into perspective.

The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has served a show cause notice to NDTV’s Hindi channel for its coverage of the militant attack on the Pathankot airbase in Punjab, thereby ordering NDTV to be off air for a day (Likely November 9th). The notice accused NDTV India of broadcasting “strategically sensitive information” which was “likely to be used by the perpetrators to put impediment in the counter-operations carried by the security forces”.

The decision has been questioned, condemned and has also been supported by many, a debate still exist about whether the ban is justified or not.

January 4 was the date when the very unfortunate terrorist attack on Pathankot took place. NDTV was reporting from the location live and these were the words by the reporters

Two terrorists are still alive and they are next to an ammunitions depot. And the jawans who are under fire, they are concerned that if the militants make it to the ammunitions depot, then it will be even harder to neutralise them.

Under the program code as per the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act of 1995, which was amended in 2015 to prohibit any live coverage on anti-terrorist actions carried out by security forces until the operation concludes. There is no doubt that there is a clear violation of the program code by NDTV. They being accused of showing strategically sensitive information is justified too. A news channel reporting the location of terrorist and security forces, in an active operation, live on the television. What’s more strategically sensitive than this, potentially jeopardizing the entire operation. Having said that I believe that NDTV had no intentions to put National Security at risk. But also acknowledge the fact that a mistake is committed.

A senior journalist from NDTV has this to say.

If We Can’t Ask Questions, What Can We Do

The answer from a young engineering student in India, “Ask Questions,but do your job but responsibly.”

This decision is questioned by many and possibly will be brought up time and again in the future. Yes again I say, I agree that NDTV has made a mistake and they have to pay. But yet a question exists, is the ban justified. Thomas Jefferson once said,

“Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press and that cannot be limited without being lost.”

Such a strict action, where in my opinion the government acted like the judge, jury and the executioner will ofcourse raise questions, many questions. And why now? Today is 4th November, I am writing about a news telecasted on 4th January, why now?

I do not claim to know everything, neither am I accusing anyone of anything but amid numerous media houses publishing and talking and asking about the encounter of 8 SIMI men in Bhopal. Again for which I say, I am not trying to accuse anyone of anything, such a move will be seen by people as an act of shutting them down, with the violation just as a tool or medium. There could have been other ways. But whatever step has been taken, I don’t know what will happen on 9th November but I do know that media should learn a lesson from this and also the government.

NDTV is one of the better news channels for a very simple fact that they actually publish and report news rather than topics like self proclaimed god-men or Saas Bahu show gossips or even astrology . But the press in general, in order to get higher number of views have lost journalism behind, I don’t intend to teach you journalism, you know that far better than me. In the race of getting more viewers sometimes it may happen that you cross the line, sometimes when I scroll through the news, all I hear is noise. Please report responsibly .

Albert Camus once said, A free press can, of course, be good or bad, but, most certainly without freedom, the press will never be anything but bad.
And this line is what explains the core, the very fundamentals of this issue.