In a strange act of a mockery of power given to the bureaucracy, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting banned two news channels from Kerala — Asianet News and Media One News—from broadcasting for 48 hours following alleged biases in reporting on the recent communal tension in Delhi.
The ban, however, was revoked after Prime Minister Narendra Modi intervened. It came to the light that Minister of Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar was not even aware of the decision.
Ravi Mital, IAS, is Secretary of the Information and Broadcasting ministry.
The News Broadcasters Association (NBA) condemned MIB’s decision to impose a 48-hour ban on Asianet News and Media One News.
NBA President Rajat Sharma said NBA appreciates the concern shown by the Prime Minister in this matter and the subsequent withdrawal of the ban imposed on the two news channels. He said the association was shocked to learn that a decision like this was taken without the knowledge of the Minister for Information and Broadcasting.
NBA demanded that the minister should institute an inquiry as to how the order prohibiting the news channels from broadcasting was issued without his approval. The NBA would like the inquiry report to be shared with it.
The association was of the view that all complaints relating to the broadcast of news should be referred to the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA), the self-regulatory body headed by retired Justice A.K Sikri, a former judge of the Supreme Court of India, in order to avoid recurrence of similar incidents in future.