On August 8, the Editors Guild of India condemned the Information and Broadcasting Ministry’s issuing show-cause notices to three TV news channels for their coverage related to Yakub Memon’s hanging, terming the action as “shocking” and called for an immediate withdrawal of the notices.
The Guild’s President N. Ravi said in a statement that “it is shocking that the Information and Broadcasting Ministry should have issued notices to ABP News, NDTV and Aaj Tak for their coverage of the Yakub Memon issue under the cable TV regulations.”
“Those regulations were never meant to be used to stop the free and vigorous discussion of matters of public interest, however disagreeable the content might be to the government.”
He added that Yakub Memon’s case before the Supreme Court and the President and the subsequent execution were “matters of widespread public interest with sharply polarised viewpoints.”
“The discussion of the issues was obviously in the nature of political speech that should be allowed free expression without curbs,” the statement said, and that “viewpoints unacceptable to the government ought not to be penalised on the specious plea that they would incite violence or spread hatred.”
The guild called upon the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to withdraw the notices. It also said that “it is time for a re-examination of the broadcasting regulations that on the face of it look over-broad and leave room for misuse in violation of the right to Freedom of Expression under Article 19 1(a) of the Constitution.”