oppn parties Is NDTV India Above The Law of The Land?

News Snippets

  • The government says Covid-19 is still in local transmission stage in India
  • Government scotches rumours of extending the lockdown beyond April14. Says no such plan
  • Centre asks states to give shelter and food to migrant workers to stop them from taking to the streets
  • RBI cuts repo rate by 75 bps, the steepest in 10 years
  • Centre writes to states regarding laxity in monitoring people who had arrived from abroad between January and March
  • Kerala reports a spurt in new cases
  • With 124 fresh cases on Friday, the number of reported cases in India stand at 854
  • Five of a family, including a 9-month-old-baby test positive for Covid-19 in Nadia district in West Bengal on Friday
  • The Pakistani army is reportedly forcibly moving all Covid-19 patients to PoK and Gilgit
  • Untimely azaans in J&K mosques spark panic gathering
  • Stocks rise - Sensex up by 1400 points and Nifty goes above the 8600 mark
  • Rahul Gandhi says the economic package is "the first step in the right direction"
  • The government announces wide-ranging measures to help the poor overcome the economic hardship caused by Covid-19
  • G20 leaders to hold a virtual meeting today to explore ways of fighting Covid-19 in a coordinated manner
  • The Delhi government orders testing of all medical staff after the positive test on a Delhi mohalla clinic doctor
Death toll reaches 27 as Covid-19 cases across India reach 974 on Saturday
oppn parties
Is NDTV India Above The Law of The Land?

By Slogger
First publised on 2016-11-05 11:52:08

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Holding an extreme view and carting the ball out of the park is what interests him most. He is a hard hitter at all times. Fasten your seatbelts and read.
If we see the chorus of support for the one day token ban on NDTV India rising to a crescendo, it seems that the media is above the law of the land. According to the government, NDTV India violated 6(1)(p) of the Programme Code under Cable TV Network Rules, 1994. This rule was notified in June 2015 and says that no TV channel can broadcast live any counter-offensive against terror attacks as it could give out sensitive information to terrorists and their handlers. NDTV India broadcast live the terrorist attack on the Pathankot air base on 4th January 2016. According to the channel, it did not broadcast anything of sensitive nature. But the government holds the opposite view. The penalty for violating the rule is a 30-day blackout, but NDTV India has been handed out just a one-day token ban as it was a new rule and this was the first instance of violation.

If the rule exists, channels must follow it, period. There can be no exceptions. The channel is not qualified to decide what sensitive information is. It is for the security forces and the government to decide whether the rule was broken. Further, the rule explicitly states that “no programme should 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.” Hence, by putting out the live telecast that disclosed the location of the terrorists before the operation ended, NDTV India has violated the rule and must now face the consequences. Those supporting the channel have little regard for the laws of the land. They are in fact supporting an illegal act in the name of press freedom.

It is very easy to harp on press freedom. But when a terror counter-offensive is underway, the lives of hundreds of soldiers in at stake. If channels choose to ignore the law of the land and telecast the operation live, the handlers can inform the terrorists of the exact location and the strategy of the security forces, putting the lives of soldiers at risk. Channels should desist from doing this voluntarily, but TRP’s matter more than the lives of soldiers. If the media thought that rule 6(1)(p) infringed on the freedom of the press, the time to protest was when it was introduced. Or, it could have been challenged in the courts. But since nothing was done by any media body and the rule exists, it has to be followed. Violation will attract penalty and NDTV India must face it. If it still has doubts, it can always challenge the ban order legally. Those who are saying this is like the Emergency do not have an iota of knowledge what Emergency was.