Justice Katju to Ravish Kumar
New Delhi : In a facebook post Justice Katju wrote.
I spoke just now with Ravish Kumar of NDTV, and told him that the one day ban on NDTV was illegal. That is because Rule 6(1)(p) of the Programme Code of the Cable TV Network Rules, 1994 under which the ban was imposed states :
” No programme should be carried in the cable service which contains live coverage of any anti-terrorist operation by security forces, wherein media coverage shall be restricted to periodic briefing by an officer designated by the appropriate Government, till such operation concludes ”
Thus, the ban is on showing ‘ live coverage ‘ of anti terrorist operations by the security forces. Live coverage means showing scenes of security forces searching or pursuing terrorists, or fighting with them. Mere reporting about anti terrorist operations is not live coverage. NDTV had only reported about anti terrorist operations, but had not shown any scenes of security forces chasing or fighting with terrorists. So there was no live coverage. The ban was therefore clearly illegal.
I also told Ravish that no freedom can be absolute, and can be restricted in the interest of society or the state security. But the ban imposed was only on live coverage not on mere reporting of anti terrorist operations.
I also told him that the media people perhaps did not read rule 6(1) (p) carefully, and have been only making general remarks against violation of media freedom and democracy.
Evidently this point did not strike any media people, and Ravish said he will take it up with the concerned people
Even these leading news channel covered same news.
On Aaj Tak, this was the report.
Titled “Aaj Tak Exclusive”, the commentary clearly reveals that the military operation was going on while the programme was being shot and aired. (00:00- 2:37)
In his piece to camera, reporter Satyendra Chauhan is seen bending and squatting while trying to catch his breath as he talks. We’re shown footage from an area that’s been cordoned off, where police personnel are stationed. All the while, firing goes on behind him in Naushera. The Aaj Tak report also reveals that fighter planes were doing surveillance at night with their visibility lights off.
IBN was no different.
So what did NDTV India report that these channels didn’t? What crucial information did NDTV Indiareveal? The channel’s move to take the reports offline makes it difficult to ascertain these answers. But looking at the reports from other channels that remain online, it’s clear that they weren’t the only ones to reveal “information on the ammunition stockpiled in the airbase, MIGs, fighter planes, rocket launchers, mortars, helicopters, fuel tanks”, which is one of the charges in the notice from MIB
On January 3, IE carried a story which read:
“At the IAF base, MIG Bison fighter jets, MI-35 attack helicopters, missiles and other critical assets were secure and the terrorists were prevented from getting near the technical area where the assets were stationed, IAF sources said.”
The MIB order also quotes ToI’s report:
“The airbase houses MiG-21 Bison fighter jets and MI-25 and MI-35 attack helicopters. Besides this, it also has Pechora missile- a surface to air missile – other air defence missiles and surveillance radars.”