Popular Indian news channel NDTV stopped their programming for one hour on Sunday evening, protesting the ban on Leslee Udwin's controversial BBC documentary India's Daughter.
The channel ran a blank screen showcasing the title of the documentary and a flickering lamp, during the hour-long slot when it should have aired.
9pm to 10pm pic.twitter.com/UKfqtTImL7”
— sonia singh (@soniandtv) March 8, 2015
Last week, the ministry of information and broadcasting had issued an advisory to all television channels asking them to not telecast the documentary about the brutal gangrape of a medical student in Delhi in December 2012.
Udwin's documentary features an interview with Mukesh Singh, one of four men sentenced to death for the rape and torture of a 23-year-old woman on a moving bus in December 2012. Comments released to the media show that Singh blames the victim for the crime. He says that women are more responsible than men for rape.
Singh's comments caused an uproar on social media and reignited a debate about gender inequality in Asia's third-largest economy.
“The Indian government is inviting the world to point fingers at India, and call it undemocratic and unconstitutional,” The Hindu quoted Udwin as saying. "Why are they doing this? Why are they intent on committing international suicide," she added.
NDTV's gesture triggered a positive response on social platforms.
A silence that spoke volumes. Loud and clear.
From #IndiasDaughter Team
— Dibang (@dibang) March 8, 2015
— Sankarshan Thakur (@SankarshanT) March 8, 2015
— Anna MM Vetticad (@annavetticad) March 8, 2015
This is the most effective protest in the history of Indian news tv. Solidarity #Ndtv.
— nikhil wagle (@waglenikhil) March 8, 2015
— bhupendra chaubey (@bhupendrachaube) March 8, 2015
NDTV's silence tonight sends out the loudest message of all - is the government listening? We need safety and the rule of law,not censorship
— Maya Mirchandani (@maya206) March 8, 2015
A report in the Scroll rightly pointed out, the NDTV strategy reminded many of the policy adopted by newspapers protesting press censorship during the Emergency.