The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued a show cause notice to 13 television news channels, including Congress leader Kapil Sibal’s Tiranga TV, for broadcasting the media briefing of Pakistan’s Army spokesperson despite an advisory on airing content following the Pulwama terror attack, according to NewsLaundry.
In the notice to Tiranga TV dated February 23, the ministry said it had issued an advisory on February 14 – the day of the suicide attack in South Kashmir – requesting channels to be cautious of airing content that is “likely to encourage or incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order or which promotes anti-national attitude”. The advisory also asked channels not broadcast content that contains “anything affecting the integrity of the nation”.
The notice said Tiranga TV had violated these codes by airing a press briefing held Pakistan Army spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor on the Pulwama terror attack on February 22. The notice said the channel had not intervened to verify the “correctness or otherwise of the claims” made in the press briefing to ensure the guidelines are not violated. The notice said the channel had aired the content for 20 minutes and 45 seconds.
The ministry asked Tiranga TV to respond to the show cause as to why action should not be taken against it and asked it respond within seven days from the date of issue of the letter.
Veecon Media and Broadcasting Ltd, which runs the channel, said Ghafoor’s press conference was only carried as part of an overall news coverage. “We do not subscribe to his views at all and many of our special programs explicitly countered his views,” President of Veecon Media Deepak Choudhry told Scroll.in. “That said, we wonder if we are being targeted.”
Choudhry said channels that have aired interviews with former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and Pakistan Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad have not received such notices. “In our channel, we have not been calling Pakistani guests for these discussions at all.”
Similar notices were sent to 12 other news channels – ABP News, Surya Samachar, News Nation, Zee Hindustan, TOTAL TV, ABP Majha, News18 Lokmat, Jai Maharashtra, News 18 Gujarati, News24, Sandesh News and News18 India, according to Kashmir Life.
Ghafoor, during his press briefing, suggested that the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir was staged, given that this was an “important month” for the country. “Should you [India] initiate any reaction first, you would never be able to surprise us...we will surprise you,” he had said.