Former Supreme Court judge, Justice Markandey Katju has termed the central government’s proposed ban on NDTV India channel as illegal.
Taking to his Facebook page, Justice Katju said, “The ban is on ‘ live coverage ‘ of anti terrorist operations of the security forces, ( vide para 6 of the Programme Code of the Cable TV Network Rules, 1994 ) and not on reporting of anti terrorist operations. There is a clear distinction between the two. NDTV did not show any live coverage of the anti terrorist operations, but only reported about them. Thus the ban was clearly illegal.”
In a hugely controversial decision, the Centre’s Narendra Modi government on Thursday had recommended taking news channel NDTV India off air for a day for allegedly revealing “strategically-sensitive” details during the coverage of the Pathankot terrorist attack earlier this year.
An Inter-ministerial committee of the I and B ministry made the recommendations.
The ministry, according to PTI, will now ask the channel NDTV India to be taken off air for a day on 9 November, according to sources, in what would be the first order against a broadcaster over its coverage of terrorist attacks.
Efforts to reach the channel for its comments could not fructify.
The matter pertains to the coverage of the Pathankot terror attack by the channel where the committee felt that “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 move has drawn widespread condemnation from members of civil society. Janta Ka Reporter has taken exceptional decision to go offline in solidarity of NDTV.