Indian News channel NDTV India to be BANNED for broadcasting sensitive information

On 2nd of January 2016 Pathankot air force station was attacked by terrorist and Hindi news channel NDTV broadcasted this anti-terror operation. NDTV will be off air on 9th of November 2016 for one day (24 hours) for its unprofessional reporting of the Pathankot airbase terrorist attack.


The Information and Broadcasting ministry’s inter-ministerial committee has recommended news channel to be taken off air for a day for revealing “strategically sensitive “information while covering the anti-terror operations at the Pathankot airbase earlier this year.

Coverage of crucial information like details of schools and residential areas located at the airbase, ammunition stockpiled in the airbase, MIGs, fighter-planes, rocket-launchers, mortars, helicopters, fuel-tanks etc. could have been readily picked by terrorist handlers and which may have had the potential to cause massive harm to the lives of defense personnel and civilians. This telecast is against the national security policy and was in clear violation of the program code under Cable TV Network Rules, 1994, which prevents live coverage of anti-terrorist operations by security forces. Until the operations conclude, the rules also limit media coverage to only the briefing given by designated officials which in this case is the DIG and NSG.


The committee’s order, dated November 2, refers to NDTV’s news telecast between 12.25 and 12.31 hours on January 4, 2016, while counter operations by the security forces were still on at the Pathankot airbase. It states that the reporter gave out “strategically-sensitive information” when questioned by the anchor. Hence leading them to face the one day blackout issued as a penalty.


The committee also noted that this violation could lead the channel to face penalty of going off-air for 30-days. However considering that this is the first such case of the rule since it was introduced only in June 2015 — being applied, the penalty has been reduced to a day-long blackout, it states.


Similar blunders were committed by Indian news channel even during 26/11 Mumbai Taj hotel terror attack endangering the lives of people.


In its reply, the NDTV channel replied that it was a case of “subjective interpretation” and that most of the information they had put out was already in public domain in print, electronic and social media.

NDTV said the announcement of the ban made them feel like the “dark days of Emergency are back” and they would “examine all options in the matter”.


West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday criticized the Centre’s order and said” The NDTV (India) ban is shocking. If the government had issues with the Pathankot (airbase terror attack) coverage, there are provisions available. But the ban shows an Emergency-like attitude,” Banerjee said on a micro-blogging site.

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Update/Correction on 7th Nov : The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has decided on 7th November to “put on hold” the order to impose a one-day ban of NDTV India, after the broadcaster requested that the decision be reviewed

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