The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday reiterated its commitment to media freedom and asserted that self regulation is the best regulation for media.
Replying to a question at a press conference here, about dangers to freedom of the press owing to the 24-hour ban on NDTV India news channel for allegedly violating programming code during Pathankot terror attack coverage, BJP national spokesperson GVL Narsimha Rao expressed his party’s firm resolve not to compromise with national interests and interests of security but expressed openness for any unanimous suggestions from media combine to programming Code, that would do away with ban on telecast for 24 hours for violation and replace it with other measures, including enhancement of penalty or fines.
Answering a question along with BJP national secretary Srikant Sharma, Mr. Rao said that the party and the Centre has repeatedly made it clear that they are certainly committed to media freedom but cannot compromise with the national security as they believe in “nation first.”
Mr. Rao said that this kind of violations have been done 27-28 times by media, including regional channels from Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, since the code has come into force. It is time that media learns from these mistakes and lapses, which can prove costly to national security in situations like terror attacks, Mr. Rao said, adding that while most of these violations have taken place during the erstwhile Congress regime, in case of present government, this is the first instance.
He said that it is time media takes the programming code and post 26/11 guidelines seriously.
When asked about civil society comparing the 24-hour ban to Emergency-type censorship measures, Mr. Rao relented and said that the government would be open if media unites, asserts self regulation as the best type of regulation and unanimously makes suggestions to amend the provisions in the programming code.