India: Government puts NDTV ban on hold

One-day ban on the Hindi language news channel was ordered as a penalty for coverage of an attack in January.

A news reporter with the Indian news channel NDTV holds a microphone.
NDTV defended its coverage saying the government had wrongly singled the channel out [Chandan Khanna/AFP]

A day-long ban on popular Indian news channel NDTV that was met with wide protests from the media has been put on hold after the Supreme Court announced that it would hear an appeal on Tuesday. 

Earlier this week, the Indian government ordered the Hindi language news channel to be taken off air for a day as a penalty for its coverage of an attack on Indian soldiers in January. Officials had said the channel would go off air on Wednesday.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said NDTV Hindi revealed strategically sensitive details during the deadly attack on the Pathankot  airbase, allegedly carried out by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed group. 


India-Pakistan tensions: Television content ban threat

NDTV rejected the accusations, saying its coverage was “particularly balanced”, and it had been “singled out since every channel and newspaper had similar coverage”. 

The Editors’ Guild of India and opposition politicians condemned the ban, saying it was an infringement on press freedom and demanded the decision be reversed immediately.    

The order against NDTV India was the first such ban on a television station for its reporting of an attack on the state.

India routinely asks entertainment TV channels to censor words it deems too offensive for local audiences. 

In India-administered Kashmir, however, it is not uncommon for local newspapers to be barred from publishing for several days in a row when cycles of protests and violence flare up.

One newspaper, the Kashmir Reader, has been banned for more than a month with officials saying its contents could incite violence.

Source: Al Jazeera