TV bans: Don’t let the issue die down

BY SAI VINOD| IN Law and Policy | 14/11/2016
Government bans on TV won’t go away. They have been around for 12 years, and a sustained campaign against bans as a method of regulation is the only solution.
Research by SAI VINOD

Ravish Kumar's show on NDTV India, using mime artists to protest the 24-hour ban on the channel. 

 

After the 24-hour ban on NDTV India was put on hold, the media has quickly forgotten the larger issue at stake in letting the government ban TV channels—whether entertainment or news—without having an acceptable decision-making process in place. The last two bans were decided upon by an inter-ministerial panel, non governmental or judicial representation is not there in the panel which makes the final ruling.

Bans on TV channels are an arbitrary government solution resorted to in the absence of a statutory regulator to govern content regulation on television. The self regulatory authorities of private channels have been in place, even as these bans (14 in the year 2013) have been imposed. Evidently self regulation is not the last word on subject, government fiats are.

As the table below shows there have been 32 bans in 12 years. Whereas NDTV India was the second national news channel to invite a ban, there have been seven bans imposed on regional news channels before, ranging from 1 day to 30 days in the case of  Satlon News, a Gujarati channel. 

The first national news channel to face a ban--of 30 days--was Janmat, in 2007, then headed by Sudhir Chaudhury currently at Zee News. This was for the infamous Uma Khurana sting operation.

And there was one ban before this on an international news channel, Al Jazeera, for a period of 5 days in 2013, for showing a wrong image of India pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir.

Information for the table below is sourced from the website of the ministry of information and broadcasting.

 

 

View a chart listing all orders issued by the ministry since 2005  over here.

 

 

The Hoot is the only not-for-profit initiative in India which does independent media monitoring. Your support is vital for this website. Click here to make a contribution.
Subscribe To The Newsletter

The Vijay Rupani government in Gujarat has increased accidental death cover for accredited journalists from Rs 50,000 to 5 lakh. Also families of accredited journalists will now get Mata Amrutm (MA) card for cashless treatment upto Rs 2 lakh in govt or designated pvt hospitals in the state. The  MA card is actually given to those whose annual income is less than Rs 1.5 lakh, but a special exception has been made for journalists. Both theses announcements were made in the budget presented in the assembly on February 21st.           

A year and six months after he was jailed in September 2015  Bastar journalist Santosh Yadav was granted bail by a division bench of the Supreme Court, comprising Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan today. Yadav was arrested in September 2015 on charges of aiding Maoists.               

View More