The flow of notices and advisories, from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting to the Indian news media, doesn’t seem to be slowing down. The latest on the receiving end is Aaj Tak. The channel was issued a show cause notice on December 5, 2008 for a report that it had telecast during the Mumbai terror attack. The channel officials have confirmed the receipt of the notice, and that a response is being prepared.
Even as there were no details available at the time of filing the story, on the specific report that has been taken to task, senior industry sources inform that the Government believed that the report was ‘misleading’. It is yet not known what the deadline for Aaj Tak is to reply to this show cause notice.
This is close in the heels of the advisory sent to all the news and current affairs channels on December 4, 2008, ‘advising’ them to stop airing reports that would demote the confidence in the Indian polity, and would refrain the nation from returning to the state of normalcy due to the constant reminder of the gory details of the terror attack in South Mumbai.
The advisory had said that such coverage “may be treated as coverage against the interest of the nation in the circumstances and attract appropriate action as per rules and as per the terms and conditions of the permission granted for uplinking and downlinking of TV channels in India.” The NBA is said to be giving a collective response to the advisory but when contacted, Annie Joseph, the official spokesperson for the News Broadcasting Association (NBA), refused to comment on the advisory.
Just prior to this advisory, India TV was served a notice for airing a conversation with a terrorist during the terror attack. The hearing process for this is still on. A day before the notice to India TV was issued, the MIB had summoned all news media owners in regards to the coverage of the terror attack that was seen as a hindrance for the police operation during the terror attack.
Attack Aftermath: I&B Ministry asks TV channels not to re-run coverage