The I&B ministry announced that TV channel NDTV India will be taken off air for a day on November 9. An Inter-ministerial committee of Information and Broadcast ministry deemed that channel had violated broadcast norms while reporting on the Pathankot terror attack this January and had revealed “strategically-sensitive” details of the IAF air base while relaying news from the spot during the terror attack.
“…Such crucial information could have been readily picked by terrorist handlers and had the potential to cause massive harm not only to the national security, but also to lives of civilians and defence personnel,” the report said.
The I&B ministry said “orders to prohibit the transmission or re-transmission of NDTV India channel for one day on any platform throughout India with effect from 00:01 hrs on 9th November,2016 till 00:01 hrs of 10th November, 2016” under the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act.
The ministry may now ask the channel NDTV India to be taken off air for a day on November 9. The channel allegedly revealed information on the ammunition stockpiled in the IAF airbase, MIGs, fighter-planes, rocket-launchers, mortars, helicopters, fuel-tanks etc “which was likely to be used by the terrorists or their handlers to cause massive harm,”
In reply, NDTV replied that it was a case of “subjective interpretation” and that most of the information they had put out was already out in print, electronic and social media. However, the committee observed that the channel “appeared to give out the exact location of the remaining terrorists with regard to the sensitive assets in their vicinity” in their live telecast.
The panel expressed “grave concern” that this was a matter of national security and that NDTV had revealed sensitive details like location of ammunition depot viz-a-viz the space where the terrorists were holed up, location of school and residential areas. Efforts were made to reach the NDTV India channel for its comments,but they did not fructify. This is the first ever case of such an order against a TV channel over its coverage of a terror attack.