Go ‘off air’ for solidarity with NDTV, Kejriwal tells media

New Delhi, Nov 4 (IANS) Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said he hoped the “whole media” will go off air for a day to express solidarity with Hindi news channel NDTV India, which has been penalised for its Pathankot terror attack coverage.

“I hope the whole media goes off air for a day in solidarity with NDTV,” Kejriwal tweeted.

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has directed NDTV India to go off air for 24 hours from the midnight of November 8-9 for allegedly breaching broadcast norms in its coverage of the attack on an Indian Air Force base in Punjab in January.

Earlier, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the ban on NDTV was “shocking” and shows an “Emergency-like attitude”.

Kejriwal also hailed the Editors Guild of India for what he said was standing up to the Centre’s decision vis-a-vis the news channel.

“Congratulations to (the) Editors Guild for showing courage to stand up against Modi government’s dictatorship,” the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader tweeted.

The AAP on Friday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of strangling the fourth pillar of democracy and said that by banning NDTV broadcast, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was taking the country back to the days of Emergency.

“We would like to remind the BJP that the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi gagged the media in 1975 and the country’s people cleaned up the Congress in 1977,” AAP leader Sanjay Singh said at a press conference here.

“We want to request the BJP and the PM (Modi) not to encourage the politics of hate,” Singh said.

The Editors Guild of India on Friday condemned the “unprecedented decision” of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to take NDTV India off the air for a day and demanded that the order be immediately rescinded.

The Guild said in a statement that the decision was a direct violation of the freedom of the media, and therefore of the citizens of India, and “amounts to harsh censorship imposed by the government reminiscent of the Emergency”.