The Press Club of India, Indian Women’s Press Corps, Mumbai Press Club, Guwahati Press Club, Brihadmumbai Union of Journalists and Delhi Union of Journalists condemn the government’s attempt to intimidate the media by issuing show-cause notices to three leading TV channels, ABP News, NDTV 24x7 and Aaj Tak, for their coverage of Yakub Memon’s hanging.
It is shameful that cable TV rules have been invoked to question the right of the media to air views or do stories that run contrary to the decisions of the government and the Supreme Court on capital punishment in general and Memon’s case in particular. We are shocked that the Information and Broadcasting Ministry is party to such an assault on free speech. The action betrays an insecurity and intolerance on the part of the government. We urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene and immediately withdraw the notices which had been issued in the context of Yakub’s hanging.
The government should respect the media’s responsibility to reflect diverse opinions, even on sensitive issues such as death penalty, national security and communal harmony. The fact that Yakub’s funeral went off peacefully nails the suggestion in the show cause notices that the media reports in question had stoked trouble and incited violence.