This is first time that a broadcaster has been penalized over coverage of a terror attack.
The government instructed Hindi news channel NDTV India on Thursday to go off air for 1 day beginning from midnight on November 9 for allegedly risking national security when covering the terror attack on Pathankot airbase in January.
While the operation to eliminate the terrorists was still on, the channel had revealed details on ammunition stockpiled in the airbase, fighter planes like MIGs, rocket launchers, mortars and fuel tanks.
Information and broadcasting ministry order states that the channel’s anchor and the reporter had exposed delicate details in the coverage of the attack that could have been readily grabbed by terrorists hiding in the airbase and their handlers had the potential to “cause massive harm not only to national security but also to the lives of civilians and defence personnel”
The channel has denied the charge, saying that it has been singled out.
Official sources stated that as the information showed up to breach the programming standards, a show-cause notice was released to the channel in January. The channel appealed in opposition to the order prior to the inter-ministerial committee (IMC), disagreeing that the supposed violations were according to “subjective interpretation” and that the majority of the details was already accessible in print, electronic and social media.
However, the committee continued to be unconvinced and observed that the channel “showed up to give the exact location of the remaining terrorist’s vis-a-vis sensitive assets in their vicinity.”
According to the new clause issued by I&B ministry In June 2015, that said broadcasters were disallowed from “live coverage of any anti-terrorist operation by security forces, wherein media coverage would be restricted to the periodic briefing by an officer designated by the appropriate government till such operation concludes”.