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NDTV challenges MIB’s ban order in SC

MUMBAI: NDTV has moved the Supreme Court against the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting’s (MIB) order banning its Hindi news channel NDTV India for a day on 9 November for alleged violation of content code.

The news broadcaster has challenged the constitutional validity of the ban.

The Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) of the MIB had recommended taking NDTV India off the air for a day for its Pathankot attack coverage as it compromised the security of the country.

In its response, NDTV had contended that the information it had provided in the coverage had already been in the public domain. The news broadcaster said that was being singled out by the government when other media platforms had shared the same information in their reports on the attack.

Despite NDTV’s pleading, the MIB went ahead and directed it to stop the transmission or re-transmission of the channel for one day from 00:01 hours on 9 November 2016 until 00:01 hours on 10 November 2016.

Various media bodies had come out in support of NDTV India while imploring the government to withdraw its order in the interest of free speech.

“We now update that NDTV Ltd and others have filed a writ petition before the Hon’ble Supreme Court challenging the said order, inter alia, challenging the constitutional validity of the said order and the provisions of law pursuant to which the said order has purportedly been passed,” NDTV said in a statement.

Apart from NDTV India, the MIB had issued punitive orders against News Time Assam and Care World TV for content violations.

News Time Assam has been directed to go off the air for a day on 9 November while Care World TV has been given a harsher punishment with a seven-day ban from 9 November.

News Time Assam has been accused of revealing the identity of a minor who was brutally tortured while working as a domestic servant.

The order said that the visuals telecast by the channel appeared to compromise the privacy and dignity of the child while also exposing him to harm and stigma.

The channel has been also accused of showing images of dead bodies.

On another occasion, the committee said the channel also did not comply with an order to air an apology for telecasting a show that appeared to be derogatory towards women.

Care World TV has been pulled for airing indecent content in October 2015. According to the IMC, the programme was based on sex-related problems ranging from intercourse pain, nightfall, homosexuality, erectile dysfunction to male obsession for oral sex.

The IMC noted that “no yardsticks have been adhered to keep the presentation/discussion in the limit of decency. These dramatic presentations include extremely vulgar scenes which suggestively depict oral sex, masturbation, premature ejaculation”.

The content appeared highly obscene and also found not suitable for unrestricted public exhibition, it added.