EDIT #3 : Prannoy Roy and his team met I&B Minister Venkaih Naidu on 07/11 evening and after the meeting, the I&B ministry has decided to put the one day ban on hold so the whole debate and aftermath is sort of irrelevant now.
If you still want to continue, here is the original answer :
The first time, it’s a silly mistake.
The second time, it’s sheer stupidity.
The third time, it’s an unforgivable crime.
And this is how one would describe the ban on NDTV.
In most cities across the world, if you frequently violate traffic rules despite repeated warnings and fines, the traffic police can confiscate your driving license for short duration before permanently banning you from driving. This is also done to put a blot on you D/L so that you don’t repeat it again. This is exactly what has happened with NDTV.
NDTV and its consulting editor Barkha Dutt have been serial offenders, especially when it comes to chasing TRPs while putting national security at stake. Let’s look at a few silly mistakes which have been committed by them :
Strike #1 : Kargil War, 1999
NDTV and Ms. Dutt portray their reporting of Kargil war as “cut my teeth reporting the Kargil war”. She credits herself of bringing Kargil to the comfy sofa of every Indian.
But she made some terrible mistakes there.
The then, army chief Gen Malik mentions in his book From Surprise to Victory, that Barkha Dutt had let out classified information in her “professional enthusiasm” by pointing out that the army’s next objective would be Tiger Hill.
NDTV has been accused of giving out army locations throughout the war but she comfortably denies it.
Strike #2 : 26/11 attacks on Mumbai
When Pakistani terrorists had captured hostages at three places, the elite Indian NSG commandos launched a counter terrorist operation to flush them out. There is nothing wrong in capturing the heroics of NSG, except that it was aired in real time.
While handing the death sentence to the captured terrorist, Ajmal Kasab, the court noted :
“The coverage of the Mumbai attacks led to a situation where, on the one hand, the terrorists were completely hidden and the security forces had no means to know their exact positions or the kind of firearms and explosives they possessed and, on the other, the positions of the security forces, their weapons and all their operational movements “were being watched by the collaborators across the border on TV screens and being communicated to the terrorists”.
She herself admits that she called the manager of Oberoi hotel to confirm that there are hostages inside. In short, during those attacks, she acted as official intelligence for Pak handlers from Ground zero.
You do not need to be a journalist to understand the basic premise of ethics, which starts with protecting victims first; and that is done by avoiding key information from being aired publicly.”
When Barkha Dutt was questioned about her role, her simple counter was that govt failed in keeping them away from ground zero.
FACEPALM. Are you kidding me? What did you expect that your channel is not watched in Pakistan? (infact, it is loved so much there that recently Hafiz Saeed too praised her !!). Even an amateur playing Call of Duty knows the value of intelligence. Your defence that I did that because other did that too cannot be justified. Constant visuals as of when and where the NSG commandos were landing, their number, their gear compromised their operational safety. The biggest sufferers were policemen as their locations and numbers when they surrounded Taj were being constantly revealed as well and they did not possess the defensive and operational capability as that of NSG.
Strike #3 : Jan 2016 Pathankot Attacks
When Pakistani terrorists attacked an Indian Air Force base at Pathankot, media swarmed the place. However, learning from their previous mistakes, the army did not allow them in while the counter terrorism operation was on.
But, alas, NDTV did not learn. The anchor and correspondent of NDTV gave away information about the number of terrorists holed up in a building situated in an area meant for Air Force personnel and details about how the army was planning to take them down. The news coverage also revealed details of an arms cache, the ammunition stockpiled at the airbase, of MIGs and fighter-planes, and fuel-tanks that the terrorists could attack. These details were not provided in the government briefing given during the attack.
This is the level of anger, an ex-army man had for NDTV’s reporting :
There are innumerable instances where NDTV has been accused of compromising national interests, especially in Kashmir. But they did not learn.
It’s not that they were banned out of blue. They had been given warnings before. The UPA government, post 26/11 issued “advisories” to TV channels twice in 2008 and once in 2009 telling them to desist from reporting details that would give away the location and movement of security forces during anti-terror operations.
The present government came up with similar dos and don’ts during March 2015 anti-terror operations. But it seems, that NDTV did not seem to care. Their arrogance that they are above the system led to this day.
What’s saddening is that Congress’ and AAP’s PR machinery is turning it into an “Attack on Freedom” issue for pity political windfalls. No one is discussing “What to do when media goes awry” or “Should media broadcast military operations in real time?”
It’s also quite amusing that NDTV could have used their Prime Time show to point out that whether any other channel was guilty of realtime information leaking and put up a defence on why the ban is unjustified, logically. Instead they choose cheap theatrics :
NDTV always had the option to approach the courts if they think their Fundamental Right has been violated and take a stay on this order. After all, it wouldnt have been a tough task for NDTV which has hired a gang of lawyers.
(Or have they been only hired so that Barkha Dutt can frequently intimidate all critics on social media with defamation ? Or to file suits against govt’s visionary projects like Saagar maala ?) As Yogesh Kumar Sheetal, a young journalism student whose career has been alleged to destroyed by Barkha Dutt says :
“They supporting free speech is like a CEO of a tobacco company campaigning for Cancer awareness!!”
NDTV resorting to rhetoric and dramatics instead of seeking legal remedies is a clear indication of their admission of guilt. This PR technique has already been tested by The Common Man He who must not be named who frequently keeps on cribbing about the PM in public but falters in courts each and every time.
What would have Rahul Gandhi done, if it was his govt in Center, and NDTV refused to comply by govt’s directives ?
What would have The Common Man He who must not be named have done…… well, let’s leave a hopeless case !!
Repeatedly putting the lives of armymen at stake for cheap TRPs should not be tolerated at any cost, even if it is political cost and this is exactly what the govt is doing.
Hope, NDTV learns it lessons before it is banned permanently.
1. [Image courtesy : Google search and Twitter]
EDIT : Some intellectuals have come up with this argument that it is the Hindi channel NDTV India which has been banned and not its English counterpart NDTV 24×7.
Let me give you an example. There is this organization called Lashkar-e-Taiba headed by Hafiz Saeed. After 26/11, it had to be banned due to Indian and US pressure on Pakistan. Guess what, Saeed started operating from another front of LeT called Jamaat-ud-Dawa. Now, was the India govt. justified in asking for closure of JuD as well? After all, it was LeT and not JuD was the culprit. Should Hafiz Saeed’s crime counter be set to zero again? You get my point.
NDTV India was directly banned because of violating govt directives during Pathankot attacks. My reference to Kargil and 26/11 was a reply to all those people who were saying “They should have been first a given a warning before being actually banned. PREJUDICE.”
Both the channels share the same information source and video footage.
NDTV India inherently carries the burdens of NDTV 24×7′s legacy. Barkha Dutt’s frequent violations, the criticism that follows and govt’s directives should have made the likes of Ravish and co, more careful as to not repeat the same mistakes.
Tomorrow, NDTV may start a channel NDTV : Tejaswi Bihar and may flout rules there.
Atleast you should have given them a warning before banning. PREJUDICE.
Then, they may come up with NDTV : ISIS, repeat the same actions there.
Atleast you should have given them a warning before banning. PREJUDICE.
And one last thing from the comments section, everyone is entitled to his or her opinions. If you feel that someone is wrong, feel free to debate and suggest corrections. But ridiculing other people (12000 as of now), making judgements on people not sharing the same views as yours, looking down on others for holding a different perspective and shaming them as inferiors is what we call an Assault on Freedom of Expression.
EDIT #2 : So finally, NDTV has decided to approach the Supreme Court against this decision, 4 days after the decision was delivered (so that the spare time can be utilized to build the emergency rhetoric and they can crib about it in every corner of the nation).
The court has not given a stay order but the matter is sub-judice now so peace from all sides.
Anyways, if the decision is in NDTV’s favor, then it would be a victory of democracyand if it is against them, then we all know, “the courts are under the influence of right wing extremists and age of Nazis 2.0 has arrived.”
As NDTV’s Nidhi Razdan famously said “We can criticise even the Supreme court judgement !!”
hi, i am Logan from Bangalore. In 2014, I started contributing to Loganspace Media Group, and life has just gotten better from there. Co-founder of Loganspace.