New Delhi, November 05: Clearing the doubts created to malign image of his government, Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu has said that freedom of press is important but security of the nation is most important. Talking to media persons in Chennai this morning, Mr Naidu said those criticising the day-long ban imposed on NDTV India over its Pathankot coverage are ill informed, politically motivated and are trying to create controversy.
The Minister said the decision against NDTV India is not based on any newly invented rule and principle. He said, the ground on which action has been proposed against the channel is only a logical conclusion of concerns clearly articulated by the UPA government in various advisories issued after 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks in 2008.
Naidu said, the government is deeply committed to uphold the sovereignty, integrity and security of the country, particularly, in the context of cross border terrorism. He said, the government issued a Gazette Notification in March this year requiring TV channels to limit live coverage of anti-terrorist operations to the briefings of designated officers, in the larger security interests involved.
He said, NDTV India, in this case has been found to have violated this provision and was found to be unrepentant about what they have done. This channel was also found to have resorted to similar violations earlier, he said. Mr Naidu said, this decision was only a culmination of the larger security concerns being expressed since 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
He said, the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) that recommended action against the channel did so after duly acknowledging the instant reach and power of television unlike other media. Mr Naidu said, the committee only recommended suspension of telecast just for one day as a token, so that the channel cannot get away completely for being even unrepentant in the matter.
Naidu asserted that the Modi Government is always in favour of freedom of expression, and there is no question of infringing on freedom of the press, though self- regulation is required by the media houses. He sought to remind that journalists as citizens have social responsibilities. He added, the Government has got nothing against any media and no penal action has been imposed against the NDTV channel. He reminded, any dissent on policies or actions of the Government can be allowed, but dissent against the nation cannot be permitted, as nation gets precedence over personal rights.