LUCKNOW: Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav has hit out at the BJP-led central government for the one-day ban imposed on NDTV India, terming it an attack on democracy and said the country is “heading towards dictatorship”.
“Today you have seen what has happened to NDTV, they (government) said that you (channel) showed the Pathankot terror attack,” Lalu said, addressing the Silver Jubilee celebrations of the Samajwadi Party in Lucknow.
“Ban on NDTV is an attack on democracy. This country is heading towards dictatorship,” he stressed.
Lalu also said that since the NDTV channel “exposes certain people”, it has been targeted by the government.
The RJD leader’s remarks came after the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting directed NDTV India to go off air from the midnight of November 8 to midnight of November 9 for allegedly breaching broadcast norms in its coverage of the January 2 terror attack on the IAF base in Pathankot.
NDTV has refuted the claims that its Hindi channel provided sensitive information during the terror attack and has said its broadcast offered no details that were not reported by other channels and newspapers. “After the dark days of the emergency when the press was fettered, it is extraordinary that NDTV is being proceeded against in this manner,” NDTV said, adding that it is considering all its options.
An array of the country’s top editors and press groups ranging from the Editors Guild of India to the Broadcast Editors Association have said the government must withdraw the ban which amounts to “harsh censorship” and a blatant violation of the freedom guaranteed to the press by the constitution.