On Tuesday, CBI conducted raids on the premises belonging to two founders of the NDTV, Prannoy Roy and his wife Radhika Roy.
A defiant NDTV, meanwhile, posted a message on its website promising to fight ‘the attempts to blatantly undermine democracy and free speech in India.’
Its statement said, “This morning, the CBI stepped up the concerted harassment of NDTV and its promoters based on the same old endless false accusations. NDTV and its promoters will fight tirelessly against this witch-hunt by multiple agencies. We will not succumb to these attempts to blatantly undermine democracy and free speech in India.”
The CBI’s statement added, “It has been mentioned in the statement of NDTV that NDTV and its promoters have never defaulted on any loan. The allegations under investigation are not regarding the default in loan repayment; but relate to the wrongful gain of Rs 48 crore to the promoters – Dr. Prannoy Roy, Smt Radhika Roy, M/s RRPR Holdings Pvt Ltd and a corresponding wrongful loss to the ICICI bank arising from their collusion and criminal conspiracy.”
The development caused a considerable furore both in India and abroad as media from around the globe provided prominent coverage with many calling it a blow to press freedom in India. The New York Times even dedicated an editorial on the CBI raids by concluding that ‘the raids mark an alarming new level of intimidation of India’s news media under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.’
Here is list of some of the prominent international media outlets and how they covered the news on NDTV;
New York Times
Headline: Raids in India Target Founders of News Outlet Critical of Government
Tension between NDTV and the government over the station’s reporting has been brewing for some time.Last year, the government imposed an unusual one-day ban on NDTV’s Hindi channel, on the grounds that it had disclosed sensitive information in its reporting on an insurgent attack on an Indian air base. The channel protested, saying that its reporting went no further than any other channel’s and that it was entirely based on official briefings.
Headline: Indian police raid premises linked to NDTV founders
Senior officials in Prime Minister Modi’s office and members of his nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have told Reuters they consider NDTV to be the least government-friendly channel.
In a heated exchange last Thursday, an NDTV moderator demanded that a spokesman of the ruling BJP either apologise or leave the live debate after he accused the channel of pursuing an anti-government agenda.
Headline: India editors criticise raid on NDTV channel
This is not the first time the government and NDTV have been at loggerheads.
Last year the information and broadcasting ministry banned NDTV India, the network’s Hindi channel, for a day on the grounds that it had aired sensitive information about a key military operation.
The channel had denied the allegation.
Mr Modi’s government has also been accused of cold-shouldering news organisations which criticise its policies.
Earlier this year his entire cabinet boycotted The Economic Times newspaper’s summit, which ministers have traditionally attended in the past.
The Guardian, London
Headline: Indian investigators raid premises linked to NDTV founders
NDTV’s Hindi news channel was suspended from broadcasting for 24 hours in November after a report about security operations during a January 2016 attack by militants on an air force base in Pathankot, Punjab state. After an outcry, the government put the ban “on hold”. NDTV had been accused by the Modi government of revealing sensitive information.
India has a vibrant and diverse media environment but the watchdog group Freedom House ranks the country’s press as only “partly free”, citing onerous defamation laws and frequent physical threats and intimidation faced by journalists, particularly those who report in regional languages.
In Kashmir, the site of 27-year insurgency, several newspapers were suspended last year and social media was shut down for 30 days in April. Conflicts of interests are also an issue, with a number of channels wholly or partly owned by politicians, according to Freedom House.