The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Thursday ordered NDTV India to go off air for a day in breach of the programme code governing content in news channels.
The move, a Ministry official said, followed recommendations of an inter-ministerial committee, which concluded that the channel’s coverage of the Pathankot terrorist attack revealed strategically sensitive details of the government’s offensive against terrorists. As a result of the order, the news channel will go off air for a day from 1 pm on November 9.
The order served on the channel on November 2 accuses the channel of revealing sensitive operational details — such as the location of ammunition depot; the place where the terrorists were holed up; location of school and residential areas — while the armed forces were trying to kill the terrorists. The order goes on to state that such crucial information had the potential to cause massive harm not only to the national security but also to lives of civilians and defence personnel.
The panel initially felt that taking the channel off for 30 days for harming national security would be justified. The Ministry, however, reminded it of a rul,e introduced in June 2015, concerning advisories to all news channels regarding coverage of anti-terrorist operations. The panel then decided to impose restrictions for a day.