Indian Government Puts NDTV’S Ban on Hold (Download PDF)


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The Union Ministry of Information had previously imposed one-day ban (on November 9th) on Hindi news channel NDTV India over its live coverage of the Pathankot terror attack, violating programme and advertising Code. Opposition parties and media bodies criticized the extreme punitive decision of the Union Government as offensive to media freedom.

Image of One-day ban on NDTV India put on hold

Image of One-day Ban on NDTV India Put on Hold

Image of One-day ban on NDTV India put on hold

What is the Issue?

  • An Inter-ministerial Committee (IMC) found that NDTV India violated the provisions of the programme code, specifically, clause (rule) 6 (1) (p) of the code, in its live coverage of the Pathankot terrorist attack on 4th January 2016.
  • The live coverage gave away sensitive information helping the terrorists.
  • The IMC consisted of joint secretaries Home, Defence, I&B, External Affairs, Law and Justice, Health and Family Welfare, Consumer Affairs, Women and Child Development and representative of the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI).

About Advertising Code

  • The Advertising Code of the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994 was incorporated in the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995.
  • Gives the Union Government the power to block the transmission and re-transmission of any channel in the country- binding on all cable networks.
  • Derived from content code governing All India Radio (AIR) framed around restriction to free speech under 19 (2) of the Constitution.
  • No specific rules for print media - not requirement to license newspaper.


  • There are no specific laws protecting the freedom of the media in India with journalists and journalism depending on the broader freedom of expression guaranteed under Article 19 of Constitution.
  • Article 19 is the guarantees right to freedom of speech and expression. However, the first constitutional amendment in 1951 put “reasonable restrictions” on use of Article 19.
  • The reasonable restrictions are forced on issues relating to sovereignty and integrity of India, security of state, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency, or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.

- Published/Last Modified on: November 9, 2016


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