The I&B ministry finally put on hold the gag order against NDTV India. The decision comes after the Supreme Court agreed to hear NDTV's application for a stay on the ban.
The move to ban NDTV India over its coverage of the Pathankot attack has become a subject of heated debates with several sections of the media being divided over the ban order. The overall sentiment seems to be that the ban order is an attempt to muzzle the freedom of expression and many have equated the move of being reminiscent of the emergency days.
Last week, NDTV India was ordered to stop broadcasting for 24 hours. In its recent statement, the Press Club of India declared the government's action amounts to "uncalled for censorship" at a time when "press freedom is already under increasing threat in the country."
The journalist fraternity has particularly become polarised with some demanding strict action against the channel while others have vociferously opposed this gag order.
Speaking about the decision to ban NDTV India, veteran journalist and Consulting Editor, India Today Group, Rajdeep Sardesai said, "This order needs to be opposed, it was an opportunity for the government to test the levels of self regulation of the broadcasters rather than use such heavy handed approach.”
Sardesai was specifically critical about the way the government chose to issue the gag order without consulting the journalist fraternity. Expressing his displeasure over the move, Sardesai added, “This is an opportunity lost for the government and they should have consulted the News Broadcasting Standards Authority, the self-regulatory body for the news media industry, before putting a ban order. This overreach and arbitrariness could have been avoided."