NEW DELHI: Slamming the government over its advisory to media houses against airing contents that may promote "anti-national attitudes", the Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Friday asked if it was "emergency 2".
The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued an advisory on Wednesday to private satellite TV channels to be particularly cautious about airing contents that are likely to incite violence, promote "anti-national attitudes" and contain anything affecting the integrity of the nation.
The advisory was issued after some TV channels beamed footage of violent protests in the Northeast against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill that was passed by Parliament on Wednesday.
"Is censorship happening in India? Is this emergency 2? The government is trying to intimidate the media by issuing these advisories. These channels cannot telecast anything anti-national, the advisory says. But what is anti-national?"
"When you did notebandi and Opposition opposed, it is anti-national? GST, CAB, when we protested, we became anti-nationals. The government is trying to control the media. We are for a free media. We want to appeal to the media to do your job fearlessly," TMC's national spokesperson Derek O' Brien told reporters.
He also accused the government of trying to muzzle both the Opposition as well as the media.
"What is happening internationally? Bangladesh's home and foreign ministers cancelled their trips, Japan (PM Shinzo Abe's visit) postponed. So the message in this is international pressure," said O' Brien, referring to the diplomatic fallout of the passing of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
Both the Bangladesh foreign minister AK Abdul Momen and Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan on Thursday cancelled their visits to India over comments made by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on the persecution of religious minorities in the neighbouring country in the past.
On Friday, Japanese premier Shinzo Abe cancelled his trip to India where he was supposed to visit Guwahati, which is simmering due to protests over the citizenship bill.