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NDTV India survives the day as Govt puts order in abeyance

The decision follows a meeting between I&B Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and NDTV Chairman Prannoy Roy

BestMediaInfo Brueau | Delhi | November 8, 2016


Strong protests by the media fraternity across the country and a meeting between I&B Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and NDTV Chairman Prannoy Roy finally brought relief to the network as the government put the one-day off-air order on NDTV India in abeyance. However, it’s not clear which above the two clinched it for the channel.

A fresh order by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting said that the channel had made a representation which is under examination. “Pending such examination, it is hereby ordered that operation of the said order be held in abeyance till further orders,” said the order.

In the meeting between Naidu and Roy, NDTV reiterated that NDTV India did not broadcast sensitive details of January's terror attack on the air force base in Pathankot – and that the channel had not been given a fair chance to offer evidence that it did not share any information that was different from what other channels and newspapers presented on the operation.

On the other hand, the Supreme Court had agreed to hear NDTV's application for a stay on the order today at 2 PM.

With the decision put on hold, where the government appeared to go on the back foot, NDTV termed it as a victory in a fight that was fought on the basis of freedom of press. The government had earlier clarified that the ban had nothing to do with freedom of press and the decision on NDTV India was only a logical conclusion of concerns voiced by the UPA government over live coverage of anti-terror operations since the 26/11 terror attack.

NDTV’s Vikram Chandra tweeted soon after the decision: “Compliments and congratulations to the entire media fraternity in India for taking such a strong and united stance on press freedom.”

Naidu later tweeted: "The top leadership of NDTV had sought a meeting with me. Today we met & during our meeting they requested revocation of ban on NDTV India. NDTV leadership presented an appeal to me, which I said I will have a look & decided, till the process, the ban will be on hold."

“IMC (Inter Min com) is clear that NDTV has violated due process & procedure and compromised national security in their coverage of Pathankot attack. But, in sync with the Government’s liberal democratic ethos & principles, this decision was taken with regard to NDTV,” added the minister.

Reiterating the government’s stand on the concerns of freedom of expression and press, Naidu tweeted further, “Unlike the Congress which muzzled free speech in 1975 & between 2004 to 2014, the NDA government believes in freedom of expression. GoI has no ill-will against anyone. We are here to fulfil aspirations of 125 crore people & fulfil the unprecedented mandate people gave us.”


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