Journalists come together against ban on NDTV India

Journalists from across the Capital came together at the Press Club of India here on Monday to protest against the government’s decision to ban NDTV’s Hindi channel for a day.

Senior journalists slammed the government calling the decision an attempt to clamp down on dissent and the first signs of what they called was ‘complete censorship’.

Muzzling dissent

Senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai quoted BJP president Amit Shah and Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu as examples of how the government was keen on muzzling dissent in the name of national security.

“Mr. Shah says he will not tolerate criticism of the nation. If that happens then the notion of national security can be as wide as possible, and the party, the government and the country become indistinguishable. When that happens, anything can be punished,” said Mr. Sardesai. In this case, Mr. Sardesai said, the ban reeked of arbitrariness and overreach. According to him, the complainant and referee in this situation were a bunch of bureaucrats. He reminded the gathering of the circumstances under which the News Broadcasters Standard Authority was set up in 2009 and why referring to it would have ensured more objectivity in making a decision.

Seema Mustafa, meanwhile, highlighted how social media was being used to threaten and abuse journalists, and how intimidation came not just from the government.

The audience was also reminded that if the healthy turnout was a proof of solidarity, the same support was absent on previous occasions when journalists faced persecution and censorship in other parts of the country – be it Chhattisgarh or Kashmir.

Resolution passed

The participants also passed a resolution asking the government to immediately withdraw the ban in the interest of the Indian democracy. The protest meet was attended by members of the Press Club of India, Editors’ Guild, Indian Women’s Press Corps, Federation of Press Clubs, Delhi Union of Journalists, News Broadcasting Standards Authority, Indian Journalists Union, and the Press Association.

Later in the evening, Mr. Naidu put the ban order on hold and gave NDTV Ltd. a chance to present its case once more before an inter-ministerial committee.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 1:45:28 PM |

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