New Delhi: The one-day ban on NDTV’s Hindi channel, widely protested by the media, has been put on hold by Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu.
The decision comes after the Supreme Court agreed to hear NDTV’s appeal tomorrow against the ban.
NDTV India was last week ordered to stop broadcasting for 24 hours (Wednesday) with the government accusing it of broadcasting sensitive details of January’s terror attack on the air force base in Pathankot.
NDTV has refuted the allegations and pointed out that other channels and newspapers reported the same information.
Mr Naidu had countered that the ban is “in the interest of the country’s security” and that the barrage of criticism confronted by the government appears “politically inspired”.
The ban has been widely condemned by journalists and editors with all press councils drawing parallels to the Emergency of the 1970s when basic constitutional rights including the freedom of the press were blatantly violated.
After a large protest held by journalists from every major media organization in Delhi, the Press Council of India said the government’s action amounts to “uncalled for censorship” at a time when “press freedom is already under increasing threat in the country.”
Last week, when the ban was announced, The Editors’ Guild of India said the order was unprecedented and that the centre appears to have given itself 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.” The organization, a grouping of the editors of all major newspapers and magazines in the country, said if the government finds any media coverage objectionable, it can approach the courts.