The Information and Broadcasting Ministry issued a one-page advisory to television channels on Wednesday evening asking them to exercise caution ensuring that nothing that incites violence is telecast.
However, the protesters objected to the advisory likening it to Emergency era censorship, coming in the backdrop of the ongoing violence in Assam on the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB).
The advisory does not explicitly refer to the Assam violence or the protests related to the CAB.
Reiterating the provisions in the Act, the advisory asks news channels to be cautious regarding any content which, “is likely to encourage or incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order or which promotes anti-national attitudes or contains anything affecting the integrity of the nation.”
“By issuing this advisory, is the Government actually ordering the Media to not show protests against the #CAB ? After internet ban, this is Media ban. Repression at any cost. Condemnable to say the least,” Congress leader Pranav Jha said in a tweet.
Trinamool Congress leader in the Rajya Sabha Derek O’ Brien equated it with 1975 Emergency. “Information and Broadcasting Ministry advisory to TV channels tantamount to media censorship. Stop intimidating the media. A second emergency,” he said in a tweet.
Meanwhile, protesters defied curfew and hit the streets over passage of the CAB. The contentious legislation eases the procedure for non-Muslim communities from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh to seek Indian Citizenship.
As Assam protests against the #CitizenshipAmmendmentBill2019 there is a Tughlaqi Farmaan from the Ministry of I&B to curb all the news and Media channels so that protests and rallies against the draconian Bill are not shown to anyone.@guptar @GauravGogoiAsm pic.twitter.com/fuzV5gHYPg
— Saimon Farooqui (@SaimonFarooqui) December 12, 2019
As Assam protests #CitizenshipBill, I&B Ministry asks news channels to refrain from airing content “against the maintenance of law and order or which promotes anti-national attitudes”.
— Supriya Sharma (@sharmasupriya) December 11, 2019