The News Broadcasters & Digital Association (NBDA) has expressed its opposition to the decision of the political alliance INDIA not to send their representatives on the shows and events hosted by certain journalists/anchors.
In a statement, the NBDA said it is “deeply anguished and concerned by the decision taken by the INDIA Media Committee not to send their representatives on the shows and events hosted by certain journalists/anchors. The decision taken by the INDIA Media Committee sets a dangerous precedent.”
The ban on representatives of the opposition alliance from participating in TV news
shows anchored by some of India’s top TV news personalities, it contended, “goes against the ethos of democracy. It betokens intolerance and imperils press freedom.”
While the opposition alliance claims to be the champion of pluralism and a free press, its decision betrays callous disregard for democracy’s most fundamental tenet – the inalienable right to openly express ideas and opinions, the NBDA statement added.
“The boycott of certain journalists/anchors takes the nation back to the Emergency era, when the press was gagged, and independent opinions and voices were crushed. NBDA urges the opposition alliance to withdraw its decision of boycotting certain journalists and anchors as such a decision would amount to browbeating journalists and stifling freedom of speech and expression of the media,” read the remainder of the statement.
On September 13, 2023, it was decided at the INDIA alliance coordination committee meeting attended by 12 parties that the bloc would not send representatives to shows and events hosted by 14 journalists and anchors. The reasons cited included ‘communal debates’ and reporting distanced from public interest.
Newslaundry quoted a committee member as saying that the alliance would observe the boycotted channels over a few months when asked about the permanence of the ban. The ban could be withdrawn if there was improvement or measures like a ban on advertisements could be introduced, he had added.
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