Joining the chorus of protests by media personalities against the directives towards three channels in India, Electronic Media Forum Assam (EMFA) and Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) expressed serious concern over the development that started with the order from the Union information & broadcasting ministry (I&B) to take Hindi news channel ‘NDTV India’ and Assamese channel ‘News Time Assam’ off air for 24 hours on any platform throughout India with effect from 01 hours on 9 November till 01 hrs of 10 November 2016.
One more channel named 'Careworld TV' faced the directive with longer period of blackout, as it will have to go off air for seven days starting from 9 November allegedly for telecasting objectionable content.
The directive came after an inter-ministerial committee set-up by I&B ministry had found the news channels were violating the program code, set under the Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules 2015. According to the committee’s observation, NDTV in a live telecast revealed the crucial & strategically sensitive information when the terror attack on the Pathankot air base was being carried out. On the other hand, News Time Assam did more than one mistakes including the revelation of a minor domestic servant in an unlawful ambiance, use of defamatory words against women and telecast of gory visuals of dead bodies in few occasions.
Both EMFA and JFA argue that the entire news channels of the country should be brought under the purview of Press Council of India (PCI) with more power to the quasi-judicial body to deal with such situations. In need, the council can be named as Media Council of India (MCI), said a statement issued by the organizations to the media outlets.
“We also demand appropriate initiatives for the news channel employees for their due financial benefits in the line of Majithia Wage Board meant for the print media employees including the journalists. A separate wage board for the electronic media employees in India may also be considered,” added the statement.