News channel NDTV on Thursday night said that it has been “singled out” after the Information and Broadcasting Ministry recommended that the Hindi channel, NDTV India, be taken off the air as a penalty for revealing “strategically-sensitive” information while covering the Pathankot attack in January. “Every channel and newspaper had similar coverage. In fact NDTV's coverage was particularly balanced. NDTV is examining all options in this matter,” read the statement issued by the channel.
It condemned the move and compared it with when the media was gagged during the Emergency. “After the dark days of the emergency when the press was fettered, it is extraordinary that NDTV is being proceeded against in this manner,” said the channel.
The channel will be off the air from 1 pm on November 9 to 1 pm on November 10. The ministry panel had said that the details disclosed by the channel could have been used by the militants to “cause massive harm not only to the national security, but also to lives of civilians and defence personnel.” The committee said the channel “appeared to give out the exact location of the remaining terrorists with regard to the sensitive assets in their vicinity” when they aired the details in real time.
Militants had attacked an Indian Air Force base in Pathankot on January 2. Six security personnel were killed in the fight that lasted 17 hours. India maintained that the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed militant outfit was responsible for the assault, and demanded the arrest of its chief, Masood Azhar.