On two occasions in the past, NDTV shut itself up. For an hour. The first was when a ban was imposed on the telecast of the documentary India’s Daughter on the Delhi gangrape case. This was in March 2015 and NDTV went with a screen with just a flickering candle, in the slot it was supposed to air it. It was a powerful and aesthetic way to register its protest at the decision.
The second was in February this year during the JNU controversy when NDTV India (the group’s channel in Hindi) went blank for some 40-odd minutes. TV metamorphosed into radio with its 9 pm anchor Ravish Kumar launching into an acerbic self-deprecating commentary, taunting the ‘mob of journalism’ and all those who had brought the country to this pass. It was considered yet another moment of eloquent journalism to get its point across.
NDTV India will once again go blank from 1 pm on 9 November, but this time for 24 hours. This time, it is not the channel’s bosses who have decided to embrace black. An inter-ministerial committee of the Information and Broadcasting ministry has made the recommendation thatNDTV India suffer this penalty for allegedly revealing “strategically sensitive” details during the coverage of the Pathankot terrorist attack in January 2016.