The Centre seems to be in no mood to relent, especially against those who dare to harm India in any way. With this resolve in mind, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued a significant advisory on 21st September, urging television channels to refrain from providing any platform to individuals facing serious criminal charges, including terrorism or belonging to organizations proscribed by law.
But why has this advisory been issued? The trigger was the appearance of Khalistani terrorist and Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) spokesperson Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on ABP News for an exclusive interview on 20 September. During the interview, Pannun made several comments that were deemed detrimental to the sovereignty and integrity of the country, the security of India, friendly relations with foreign states, and even had the potential to disturb public order in the country, as pointed out by the ministry.
Achor Jagwinder Patiyal savagely roasted most wanted Khalistani terrorist Punnu on live TV show-
You are driving a BMW and Ferrari far away from Punjab and playing in the hands of Pak. On getting cornered Punnu shifted goal post to Manipur.
The advisory explicitly mentioned that it was issued in response to a recent discussion on a television channel featuring an individual located in a foreign country who faces serious criminal charges, including terrorism, and belongs to an organization that has been proscribed by law in India.
The issue of the media providing platforms to extremists is not a new one. Virtually every media channel in our country has given a platform to hardened terrorists, such as Yasin Malik and Zakir Naik, to name a few. Therefore, it wasn’t entirely surprising that Gurpatwant Singh Pannun was featured on a television program. However, this time, the Centre wants to make it abundantly clear that there will be no leniency for individuals who promote radicalism, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
Gurpatwant Singh Pannun’s appearance on ABP News underscored the need for such advisories. His comments, which ran contrary to India’s security and diplomatic interests, raised concerns. Pannun’s association with a proscribed organization further compounded the issue. The advisory aims to prevent such incidents from recurring, ensuring that the media does not inadvertently or intentionally become a conduit for promoting extremism. In a diverse and pluralistic society like India, it is imperative that the media upholds the values of unity, integrity, and security. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s advisory is a proactive step in this direction. It seeks to strike a balance between freedom of expression and the protection of national interests.
The recent advisory should serve as a wake-up call for television channels and the media industry as a whole. It underscores the need for greater self-regulation and responsible journalism. While the media plays a vital role in shaping public opinion and holding power to account, it must also recognize its role in maintaining national security and social harmony.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s advisory to television channels to refrain from providing a platform to individuals facing serious criminal charges, including terrorism, is a decisive step in safeguarding national interests. It is a reminder that freedom of speech comes with responsibilities, especially in a diverse and security-conscious nation like India. By adhering to this advisory, the media can play a constructive role in preserving the country’s unity, integrity, and security.
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