Television channels should not provide a platform to persons who have been charged with serious crimes such as terrorism or have links to banned organisations, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said in an advisory issued on Thursday.
The advisory was issued after Hindi channel ABP News aired an interview of Sikh separatist leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on Wednesday amid a raging diplomatic crisis between India and Canada over Khalistani extremism.
Pannun was designated a terrorist by India in 2020 and faces 22 criminal cases in Punjab, according to The Indian Express. His organisation, Sikhs For Justice, was banned by the Indian government in 2019.
Following Ottawa’s allegations that New Delhi may have been involved in the killing of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in suburban Vancouver, Pannun had released a video threatening Hindus living in Canada to leave the country.
In the advisory issued late on Thursday, the Centre said that in his interview with ABP News, Pannun had made several comments that were “detrimental to the sovereignty/integrity of the country, security of India, friendly relations of India with a foreign state and also have the potential of disturbing public order in the country”.
Diplomatic relations between India and Canada have hit an all-time low since Justin Trudeau announced on Monday that officials were probing “credible allegations of a potential link” between Indian government agents and the death of 45-year-old Nijjar on June 18 in Surrey, outside Vancouver.
India has rejected the charges as “absurd and motivated”. On Thursday, New Delhi also called Canada a “safe haven” for terrorists and suspended visa services in the country. Canada, on its part, has said it will downsize its diplomatic staff in India “out of an abundance of caution”.