Television

NDTV India ban reversal: Centre wants apology, counsel seeks time from SC

MUMBAI: The Central Government on Friday told the Supreme Court that the one-day blackout order against New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV) India will be reversed only when the channel offers an apology for its coverage of the Pathankot militant attack on 2 January last year.

Appearing for NDTV India, senior advocate Harish Salve sought a week's time to inform the court if the NDTV India would tender an apology.

Earlier, India's highest court had, on November 6, deferred the hearing in the case to 5 December, citing reason of no urgency for its hearing. Information and broadcasting ministry had asked NDTV India to go off-air on 9 November after the government accused it of airing sensitive information related to the terror attack.

NDTV had, however, refuted the allegations stating that other channels had also reported the same. Information and broadcasting minister M. Venkaiah Naidu however supported the ban, stating that it was in the interest of India's security.

Major media organisations and journalists condemned the ban and protested against it, comparing it with the emergency when the right of the freedom of press was violated.

NDTV India channel telecast a report on the Pathankot attack disclosing sensitive information well beyond the briefing given by the designated officer while the anti-terrorist operations were still under way. The content was found in violation of Rule 6(1)(p) of the Programme Code. The matter was placed before the IMC on 25 July, 2016, in which representative of the channel was also afforded an opportunity of a personal hearing. It was recommended that the channel may be taken off air for at least one day keeping in view the gravity of the violation and an order issued on 2 November 2016.

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