They have called for the immediate withdrawal of the order.

Taking NDTV India off air for a day reminiscent of Emergency days Editors Guild
news Media Friday, November 04, 2016 - 13:14

The Editors Guild of India has strongly condemned the order of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to take Delhi-based NDTV India off air for a day, and demanded that it be immediately withdrawn.

In a statement released on Friday, the Guild said that the central government’s order was reminiscent of the emergency.

An inter-ministerial committee had said that the channel would be taken off air on November 9 as NDTV India had revealed “strategically-sensitive” details of the Pathankot air base while reporting on the attack on January 2.

“…Such crucial information could have been readily picked by terrorist handlers and had the potential to cause massive harm not only to the national security, but also to lives of civilians and defence personnel,” the report said.

In its defence, the NDTV group, which owns the channel, said that it had reported information that was already out in the public domain.

Below is the full statement of the Editors Guild of India:

The Editors Guild of India strongly condemns the unprecedented decision of the inter-ministerial committee of the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to take NDTV India off the air for a day and demands that the order be immediately rescinded.

The ostensible reason for the order as reported is that the channel's coverage of the Pathankot terror attack on January 2, 2016 that the government claims gave out sensitive information to the handlers of terrorists. NDTV in its response to a show cause by the government has maintained that its coverage was sober and did not carry any information that had not been covered by the rest of the media, and was in the public domain.

The decision to take the channel off the air for a day is a direct violation of the freedom of the media and therefore the citizens of India and amounts to harsh censorship imposed by the government reminiscent of the Emergency. This first-of-its-kind order to impose a blackout has seen the Central government entrust itself with the power to intervene in the functioning of the media and take arbitrary punitive action as and when it does not agree with the coverage. There are various legal remedies available to both a citizen and a state in the Court of Law to have action taken for any irresponsible media coverage. Imposing a ban without resorting to judicial intervention or oversight violates the fundamental principles of freedom and justice. The Editors Guild of India calls for an immediate withdrawal of the ban order.

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