Home >Politics >Policy >NDTV India to go off air on 9 Nov for revealing Pathankot attack details
A file photo of police personnel during the Pathankot terror attack. Photo: Reuters
A file photo of police personnel during the Pathankot terror attack. Photo: Reuters

NDTV India to go off air on 9 Nov for revealing Pathankot attack details

The I&B ministry's action against NDTV India is the first case of violation of provisions inserted into the programme code last year

New Delhi: The information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry on Thursday asked New Delhi Television Ltd’s Hindi language news channel NDTV India to go off air for 24 hours as a penalty for broadcasting “sensitive details" related to the 2 January Pathankot terrorist attack.

An inter-ministerial committee formed by the ministry found the channel had violated the programme code set under the Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules, 2015.

In a live telecast, the channel revealed the exact location of the suspected Pakistan-based terrorists involved in the attack on the Pathankot air base, the committee noted in its recommendations, released by the I&B ministry.

In addition, the channel also disclosed details about the location of an ammunition depot and the place where terrorists were holed up, the location of a school and residential areas in its coverage of the attack which in turn “could have jeopardised national security and also lives of civilians and defence personnel", the inter-ministerial committee said.

Seven Indian security personnel and all five attackers died in an exchange of fire.

Based on the recommendations of the inter-ministerial committee, the I&B ministry asked NDTV India to go off air for 24 hours starting on 9 November.

An NDTV spokesperson said “The order of the MIB has been received. It is shocking that NDTV has been singled out in this manner. Every channel and newspaper had similar coverage. In fact NDTV’s coverage was particularly balanced. After the dark days of the emergency when the press was fettered, it is extraordinary that NDTV is being proceeded against in this manner. NDTV is examining all options in this matter."

This is the first case of violation of provisions inserted in the code last year. 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."

The inter-ministerial committee had issued a show-cause notice to NDTV India. In its reply, NDTV India mentioned that the information shared by the channel was already reported in national dailies before it was broadcast.

The committee, however, held that since guidelines governing the TV channels and newspapers are different, the coverage of news by TV channels cannot be justified on such grounds.

“Threat to national security cannot be justified on any grounds whatsoever. No benefit of doubt could be given for their subjective interpretation as mentioned in the representation given by the channel," the committee mentioned in its comments.

In July, the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) asked English news channel NDTV 24x7 and NDTV India to apologize on air for a news report they aired in October 2015. The report related to the lynching of a man in Nahan, Shimla. The two channels had blamed the lynching on specific religious groups, naming them in their headlines.

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