Union information and broadcasting minister Venkaiah Naidu defended on Saturday one-day ban on NDTV India over its Pathankot coverage, saying the “belated criticism” is clearly “ill informed and politically inspired” to create a controversy.
“This decision was only a culmination of the larger security concerns being expressed since 2008 Mumbai terror attacks,” Naidu said.
He claimed that the decision against NDTV India was not based on “any newly invented rule and principle”.
“The ground on which action has been proposed against NDTV India was only a logical conclusion of concerns clearly articulated by the UPA government in various advisories issued after 26/11 terror attacks on multiple targets in Mumbai in 2008,” the minister said.
Naidu said the advisories issued by the UPA government had clearly asked channels to exercise restraint, maturity and sensitivity while reporting on anti-terrorist operations in the larger interest of safety and security of security forces involved in such operations and civilians.
Naidu hit back at the critics accusing them to be politically motivated .
“The belated criticism is clearly ill informed and politically inspired. Such reactions that came a day after the government’s decision was in public domain on November 3, 2016 was clearly an after thought, suggesting a motivated design to create a controversy where none existed.”
He drew a parallel with the UPA regime in which television channels went off air in 21 instances, primarily due to telecast of adult content.
“People of the country are also wise enough to appreciate which of the two violations – showing obscene visuals at the stroke of midnight and risking the lives of defence personnel and civilians through a live telecast of anti-terrorist operations in broad day light- is a serious threat to the interests of the nation including it’s sovereignty, integrity and security,” Naidu said in a statement.
“In the larger security interests involved. NDTV India, in this case, has been found to have violated this provision and was found to be unrepentant about what they have done. This channel was also found to have resorted to similar violations earlier, “ the minister said.
Responding to criticism by Editors Guild of India , Naidu said, “The Editors Guild of India, a responsible organisation that took a full day to come out with its response should realise that under Sub-section (2) of Section 20 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, Central Government is required to regulate or prohibit the transmission of any channel or programme in the interest of sovereignty, integrity and security of India and as per Para 8.1 of Uplinking Guidelines, is empowered to take action for transmitting any objectionable content inconsistent with public interest.
Therefore, the government is not required to approach the courts in such cases, as suggested by the Guild, he added.
(With inputs from agencies)