News channels have decided to stand firm on the breach in guidelines case. At a meeting held in the Capital on May 4, 2009, the News Broadcasting Authority (NBA) refused to buy the not so subtle hints of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB), Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Research & Analyses Wing (RAW), that news channel IBN7 had done major hara-kiri by showing a detailed intercept of fidayeen plans in Delhi.
The NBA stood firm that there was no need to curry favour with the MIB and intelligence agencies and suo motu haul up IBN7. Instead, the NBA seemed to take the Government head on and lobbed the ball back in the court of MHA, MIB, RAW and IB, after they had extracted a public assurance from NBA Secretary-General Annie Joseph on April 25, 2009, that NBA would take suo motu action against IBN7. What irked the NBA was that prior to the meeting with security officials, Joseph wasn’t given any information on the agenda.
As reported earlier by exchange4media, Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta, IB Chief Rajiv Mathur, MIB Secretary Sushma Singh, RAW Chief KC Verma, and Minister of State in MIB Anand Sharma had jointly summoned NBA and a few print players on April 25 and conveyed extreme displeasure that IBN7, The Times of India, Mail Today and Asian Age, saying that they had “compromised” India’s national security by showing super-sensitive documents of a fidayeen operation against Delhi.
“Today’s assertion of independence by Justice Verma has sent a chilling message that NBA won’t be pushed around, even if the Home Secretary, IB Chief, RAW Chief and MIB Secretary try to jointly twist our arm,” said an editor from a rival channel, showing his solidarity in the case.
The editor further said, “These top officials had ‘ambushed’ NBA’s Annie Joseph with a case she hadn’t had any time to understand. Intelligence bosses are paid to plug the leaks in their own system. They can’t use IBN7 as a whipping boy and cover their own incompetence.”
“It is due to a judge of the stature of Justice JS Verma that NBA today has taken the Government head on. If IBN7 has made a mistake, certainly NBA alone will decide what to do. We don’t need spoon feeding from some frustrated babus,” he added.
Joseph was not available for comments at the time of filling this report.
Joseph had, in the meeting held on April 25, 2009, asserted that an immediate action would be taken in the presence of dignitaries from MOS, RAW, I&B Ministry, IB Chief, Home Secretary.
It may be recalled that on April 23, 2009 there was a news report that was aired on IBN7 at 11 pm, which reportedly breached the guidelines given by NBA to news channels. The same information also appeared in print the following day in The Times of India, Mail Today and Asian Age. The news breached that guideline that states: “There should be no coverage that discloses confidential information involving national security”.
New challenge before Justice Verma as NBA wards off Govt action, pleads for a chance