Skip to main content

Govt of India decision to ban NDTV "untenable", continuation of efforts to muzzle dissent, NGOs: PUCL

By Our Representative
The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), condemning the decision of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to “punish” Hindi news channel, NDTV India, for allegedly revealing “strategically-sensitive” information while covering the Pathankot attack in January 2016, has said the order is “legally untenable, ethically unacceptable and factually fallacious.”
Pointing out that the decision to ban the channel’s broadcast for a day on November 9 “is reminiscent of the Emergency period when the media was muzzled and is a chilling reminder that the present BJP-led NDA government will not hesitate to crush freedom of the media”, PUCL says, it “suits” the Modi government’s “political interest to prevent dissent and democratic criticism.”
“The Ministry based its decision on an Inter-Ministerial Committee which rejected the reply of NDTV India”, the top human rights organization, founded by Jay Prakash Narayan, says, adding, “The government had accused NDTV of compromising national security by providing details about the location of terrorists, civilian dwellings, fuel and ammunitions dump during the Pathankot coverage.”
“The NDTV, in its defence, had pointed out with facts and evidence that the allegation was unsustainable and unjustified as the information had already been made public and published by print media and electronic media before its telecast”, the PUCL statement, signed by its president Prof Prabhakar Sinha and general secretary Dr V Suresh, says.
“The punitive action against NDTV India smacks of arbitrariness, discrimination and clearly exhibits the true intent of the NDA Government to crush anyone from critically questioning the government’s policies, programmes and actions”, it says, adding, “The vindictive action against NDTV India is thus a warning to other media agencies of the fate that awaits them if they challenged the government’s line.”
The PUCL statement comes close on the heels of the Editors’ Guild outlining the “threat” posed by the government’s action, saying that by “imposing a ban without resorting to judicial intervention or oversight violates the fundamental principles of freedom and justice...”
The Editors’ Guild also says, “The first-of-its-kind order to impose a blackout has seen the Central government entrust itself with 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”.
According to PUCL, the decision against NDTV is in continuation of the “the very first decision of the Modi-led government soon after being elected to power in May 2014 to take vindictive action against NGOs, especially environmental NGOs and other rights organizations which had challenged different private industrial and development projects.”
The government, it says, talked of “national economic security” in order to “ban” them, adding, “Since then, the government has politically sought to crush all dissent groups and critics of the regime by dubbing them as threats to ‘national security’ and criminalising dissent, falsely prosecuting rights defenders under the dreaded and anti-people Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), National Security Act, sec. 124A (anti-sedition law) and so on.”
Calling upon “all democratic sections of society to immediately raise their voices”, the PUCL says, time has come for citizens “to continuously remain vigilant and oppose all anti-democratic and anti-human rights actions and decisions of the government (both central and state) so that our precious fundamental rights and freedoms are not crushed, emasculated and denied.”

Comments

TRENDING

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

Gross 'injustice' to children: Rs 5000 cr cut in education budget; 15 lakh schools shut down

Counterview Desk  More than 100 dignitaries, including educationists, academia, social activists, teachers’ union, civil society organisations (CSOs), various networks and people working on child rights, in a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman have sought reversal of reduction in allocation for education in the Union Budget 2021-22, even as demanding substantial increase in it.

India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

RSS love for 'killer' Myanmar junta behind Indian military presence at Tatmadaw Day?

By Shamsul Islam*  If a shameful act means an action which is criminal and nauseating, it would be an understatement to describe the attitude of the present RSS-BJP rulers of India towards the demolition of democracy and large-scale killing of the people of Myanmar by the military ( tatmadaw ) junta which took power through a coup on February 1, 2021 after renegading the election results in which the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, National League for Democracy, was a clear winner.

Chhattisgarh’s Apra riverfront imitates Sabarmati: 'Devaluing' water, environment

Sabarmati riverfront By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  This year’s #WorldWaterDay (March 22) focus was on ‘Valuing Water’. My school friend, Pragati Tiwari from Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, called that day knowing my interest in water matters. We were remembering our childhood days as how we used to play on the banks and the bed of the Arpa Nadi (River) during the summer holidays and as how the river would swell like Anaconda to flow happily during the monsoon.

Bihar massacre on Holi day: Brahminical, casteist mindset behind 'uneasy' silence

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Several people were killed in Bihar amidst Holi festivities, but not much response has come in from the media. The silence of the government and the society as a whole is also appalling. We seek to romanticise these festivals, yet we forget that every year they take so many lives. This despite the fact that Holi appears to be the best time for 'avenging things'.

India's draft migrants policy: Whither concern on job restrictions imposed by states?

By Anil Kumar*  India’s Niti Aayog has prepared a Draft Migration Policy. The draft policy acknowledges migration as an integral part of development, and it calls for positive government interventions that facilitate internal migration. With a rights-based solution to migration, the draft states that the policy should “enhance the agency and capability of the community and thereby remove aspects that come in the way of an individual’s own natural ability to thrive”.

Recalling Jallianwala martyrs' communal amity as BJP 'warns' of Sitalkuchi everywhere

By Shamsul Islam*  The RSS-BJP rulers declare India to be a battle-ground between Hinduism and Islam. Muslims have been declared as ‘internal threat’ by RSS ideologue MS Golwalkar (“Bunch of Thought”, Chapter xvi). Behaviour of many of their leading cadres, including those who hold high constitutional posts, is such that they seem to be conspiring over-time to ignite a civil war between the two communities. They are under the impression that this would help divert attention from failures of the Hindutva rulers on developmental front.