New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday deferred the hearing of a case challenging the government’s one-day ban on Hindi news channel NDTV India.
A bench headed by Justice A.K. Sikri said that they would consider the matter at a later stage since the Information & Broadcasting (I&B) ministry is still in the process of reviewing its ban order and the court’s interference at this stage would be unnecessary.
The I&B ministry on 3 November had asked New Delhi Television India (NDTV)-owned Hindi language news channel to go off-air for 24 hours on 9 November, saying it had disclosed “sensitive details" on the 2 January Pathankot terrorist attack.
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However, the ministry on 7 November put the one-day ban on hold and said that it will take a relook at the order on the request of Prannoy Roy, founder and executive co-chairperson at NDTV. The ministry further added that it will review the recommendations made by the inter-ministerial committee asking NDTV India to be taken off-air for a day, considering that NDTV’s perspective was perhaps not adequately appreciated.
According to an inter-ministerial committee formed by the I&B ministry, NDTV India was held in violation of the programming code of the Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules, 2015. The committee had said that the channel disclosed details of the location of an ammunition depot and the place where the terrorists were holed up as well as the location of a school and residential areas in a live telecast on 4 January.
According to the Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules, 2015, “No programme shall be carried in the cable service which contains live coverage of any anti-terrorist operation by security forces, wherein media coverage shall be restricted to periodic briefing by an officer designated by the appropriate government till such operation concludes."
So far, the matter has drawn severe criticism from media, journalists and political parties across the country.
The case will now be heard on 5 December.