APDR Statement against NDA Government’s notice to news channel regarding coverage of Yaqub Memon’s execution

August 14, 2015

PRESS RELEASE

APDR is concerned on the NDA Government move to take action for Yakub execution coverage against some news channels. The move is yet another onslaught on right to dissent, APDR feels.

The Union Information & Broadcasting Ministry under the NDA Government has invoked different sections of the Programme Code prescribed under the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994, including Section 1(d), Section 1(g) and Section 1(e) of Rule 6 to issue separate show-cause notices to ABP News, NDTV 24×7 and Aaj Tak The allegation is that these channels’ coverage relating to 1993 Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon hanging showed disrespect to the judiciary and the President of India. The channels were asked to explain within 15 days why action should not be taken against them.

The disposal of four mercy petitions in a single day perhaps created a judicial history. It is no secret that from sitting and retired Supreme Court Judges to ruling party and opposition parliamentarians, at least two recognized political parties, eminent jurists, academics, retired intelligence agency chiefs and many others expressed strong opposition to the hanging of Yakub Memon. Many have opposed the practice of continuance of Death Penalty.

Holding that “Right to Dissent” is a fundamental right, APDR maintains it tacitly includes “Freedom of Press” and as such demands its explicit recognition in our Constitution. The government’s attempt to equate expression of dissent as mark of disrespect is another authoritarian twist towards criminalising dissent and swoop on the freedom of press. APDR strongly opposes the move and demands withdrawal of the show cause notices.

Amitadyuoti Kumar
Working President.