New Delhi: A day after the media vehemently opposed the proposed controversial amendments to the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hurriedly intervened in the matter, assuring news channels the amendments are being put on hold.
A carefully worded PMO statement issued on Wednesday said,
“The Prime Minister has received several representations from the media agencies regarding certain proposed changes in the Cable Television Network Rules currently under consideration. He has assured that the matter will be taken up for finalization only after the widest possible consultation with all the stakeholders and eliciting their different points of view on the proposed changes”
Sonia Gandhi, who met a delegation of editors from news channels, said amendments will not be pushed if they were compromising the independence of news operations. This stand comes only after protests even from the political fraternity started mounting.
``The BJP is against the curbing of the freedom of the press. The Congress party must not do this,’’ says BJP President, Rajnath Singh.
``Freedom of media is very important,' says NCP’s Sharad Yadav. '
``We will fight against such clamping,'' adds SP General Secretary, Amar Singh.
``The Prime Minister must not do this in a hurry,'' adds Sitaram Yechury.
Despite assurances by the government, editors say a complete scrapping of the proposed amendments is the only way to ensure the free functioning of the Fourth Estate. Some of the unprecedented measures at gagging the media include:
- District Magistrates and Sub-divisional Magistrates besides Commissioners of police can block live transmission.
- Visuals and footage will be provided through a nodal agency in any such situation deemed nationally important.
- Officers will have the power to decide whether repeat telecast of footage is necessary
Editors say the amendments are almost a throwback to the Emergency era and the worst possible assault on the Fourth Estate.