Assamese news channel Pratidin Time banned for one day once again

MUMBAI: The Indian government continues with its caning of TV news channels. After NDTV India, it is now the turn of Pratidin Time or News Time Assam to be told to go off air on the powers-that-be’s favourite date 9 November for gross and multiple programming code violations. Pratidin Time has been accused of revealing the identity of a minor victim, showing images of mutilated bodies, and making derogatory statements about women in shows.

The violation that has been gravely objected to is the one relating to a minor boy for which the day-long ban is being issued. The ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) issued an order dated 2 November saying that the channel revealed the identity of a minor who was brutally tortured while working as a domestic servant, thus compromising his privacy and dignity and  exposing him to harm and stigma.

A high level inter-ministerial committee (IMC) took the decision to compel the channel to turn off its signals for a day after hearing its defence.

The MIB says that Pratidin Time has time and again being showing images of bodies of dead victims. It has also not being complying with earlier MIB orders which asked it to  apologize for airing a show which appeared to be derogatory towards women.

The MIB in its current order has stated that Pratidin Time that all the three cases will be covered under the one day ban. It has further explained that under the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act, it "orders to prohibit the transmission or retransmission of News Time Assam TV channel for one day on any platform throughout India with effect from 00:01 hours on 9th November, 2016 till 00:01 hours on 10th November, 2016."

This is not the first time that Pratidin Time (News Time Assam) has been asked to pull the plug. It, along with another channel DY 365, was asked to go off air on 30 July 2014 in another case.

Then in August 2015 it was slammed on social media as well when it carried a clip on its YouTube channel, criticizing “scantily clad women” calling them a summer time nuisance that went against local culture in Assam. The uproar that followed forced it to pull down its video, but petitions have been filed against it, asking it to to report responsibly.

Launched on 25 December 2010 as News Time Assam by the Kolkata based Brand Value Communications under the Rose Valley Grop, it was acquired by the Pratidim group in 2015 and rebranded as Pratidin Time.

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