NEW DELHI: The Foreign Correspondents Club of South Asia (FCC) on Monday condemned the governments one-day ban on NDTV India news channel as "arbitrary" and appealed to the government to immediately withdraw it.
In a statement, the FCC also said the ban violates press freedom in the world's largest democracy that also boasts of having the largest number of newspapers and television news channels in the world.
"If the government believes that any TV network has violated the law, it should first take up the issue with the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA), the independent self-regulatory body of the News Broadcasters Association (NBA), for redressal, and then take the offending network to court if necessary," it said.
It also remarked that the Information and Broadcasting Ministry's ban on NDTV India from the midnight of November 8, for allegedly flouting norms in its telecast of the January 2 terror attack on the Pathankot air base, was taken "ten long months after the broadcast in question".
"It is not proper for a government committee to have the power to take a television channel off the air in such an arbitrary fashion."
"The FCC appeals to the Government of India to withdraw its order immediately," the statement said.
The ban on the Hindi news channel has come in for all-round criticism from the Editors Guild and other journalists groups, as well as political leaders.