Even as prominent media persons condemn the government's one-day punitive ban on NDTV's Hindi channel for its reporting, Zee News owner and Essel Group Chairman Subhash Chandra Goel, has welcomed the move, saying it should have been extended to a lifetime ban.
Chandra, who is also a Rajya Sabha member, in a series of strongly-worded tweets, said the move was justified in the interest of national security. He criticised the people protesting the ban, particularly intellectuals and the Editor's Guild, who he alleged had remained silent when the UPA government considered putting a ban on Zee News.
He believes even the courts would teach NDTV a lesson on national security if the matter reached the courts.
Chandra tweeted in Hindi:
NDTV पर 1 दिवसीय प्रतिबन्ध नाइंसाफी है, यह सजा बहुत कम है! देश की सुरक्षा से खिलवाड़ के लिए उन पर आजीवन प्रतिबन्ध लगाना चाहिए था (1/5)— Dr. Subhash Chandra (@subhashchandra) November 6, 2016
मेरा तो यह भी विश्वास है की अगर NDTV न्यायालय में जाए तो उसे वहां से भी फटकार ही मिलेगी (2/5)— Dr. Subhash Chandra (@subhashchandra) November 6, 2016
Zee News has faced criticism in the past for bias towards the BJP, which the channel has tried to defend. In 2012 two senior Zee News editors, Sudhir Chaudhary and Samir Ahluwaliawas, were sent to jail on charges of extorting Rs 100 crore from an industrialist and a Congress MP in exchange for covering his business group. Both were released on bail.
Last week, the government issued an order to NDTV to take its Hindi channel off air for 24 hours as a penalty for its coverage of Pathankot terror operations earlier this year. The government alleges that NDTV disclosed sensitive information during its reporting.
NDTV has now taken the government to court, challenging the ban calling it unconstitutional.