Don't give platform to terrorists: Centre to TV channels amid Canada row

Sep 21, 2023 09:13 PM IST

In an advisory, the I&B ministry on Thursday asked private television channels to not give platform to people against whom there are charges of terrorism.

The Centre on Thursday issued an advisory to private television channels to refrain from interviewing individuals linked with terrorism. The advisory comes amid the worsening ties between India and Canada over Canada PM Justin Trudeau's public allegations that India had a role in the assassination of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar. As several strong moves from both India and Canada followed, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a wanted terrorist in India appeared on a television channel. The advisory, however, does not mention Pannun or Canada's name.

India on Thursday suspended visa service in Canada citing security threats amid the ongoing India-Canada diplomatic crisis.(AP)
India on Thursday suspended visa service in Canada citing security threats amid the ongoing India-Canada diplomatic crisis.(AP)

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“It has come to the notice of this Ministry that a person in a foreign country against whom there are serious cases of crime including terrorism, belonging to an organization which has been proscribed by law in India was invited for a discussion on a television channel wherein the said person made several comments/remarks which were detrimental to the sovereignty/integrity of the country, security of India, friendly relations of India with a foreign state and also had the potential of disturbing public order in the country,” the I&B ministry advisory said.

"While the Government upholds media freedom and respects its rights under the Constitution, the content telecast by TV channels must adhere to the provisions of the CTN Act, 1995, including sub section (2) of Section 20," the advisory said.

"In the light of the above, television channels are advised to refrain from giving any platform to reports/references about and views/agenda of persons of such background including those against whom there are charges of serious crimes/terrorism and belonging to organizations which have been proscribed by law, having regard to the reasonable restrictions laid down under Article 19(2) of the Constitution and mentioned under sub-section (2) of Section 20 of the CTN Act," the advisory said.

The order is in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, security of state, friendly relations of India with any foreign state, or public order or morality, the advisory said.

Gurpatwant Singh Pannu is a US-based Sikh extremist who heads the Sikhs for Justice Group. The pro-Khalistan group was banned in India in 2019. Pannun was designated as a terrorist in India.

Sikhs for Justice has recently threatened Hindus of Indian origin and asked them to leave Canada or supporting the country of their origin and “promoting violence” by celebrating Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s killing. The threat video surfaced after Justin Trudeau's allegation. The video was removed by YouTube on Thursday.

India on Thursday suspended the visa services in Canada citing security threats. Calling Canada a safe haven for terrorists, the ministry of external affairs said India has asked Canada to reduce its diplomatic presence in India.

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