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INDIA Bloc’s Boycott Of Anchors Imperils Press Freedom, Goes Against Ethos Of Democracy: NBDA

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New Delhi, Sept 14: Slamming the opposition INDIA bloc’s decision to boycott 14 anchors, the News Broadcasters & Digital Association (NBDA) on Thursday said it imperils press freedom and goes against the ethos of democracy.

Urging the opposition alliance to withdraw the decision, the NBDA said it was “anguished and concerned” by the decision taken by the INDIA Media Committee not to send their representatives on the shows and events hosted by certain journalists/anchors.

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“The decision taken by the I.N.D.I.A. Media Committee sets a dangerous precedent.  The ban on representatives of the opposition alliance from participating in TV news shows anchored by some of India’s top TV news personalities goes against the ethos of democracy.

“It betokens intolerance and imperils press freedom. The opposition alliance claims to be the champion of pluralism and a free press, but its decision betrays callous disregard for democracy’s most fundamental tenet – the inalienable right to openly express ideas and opinions,” the association of different current affairs and news television broadcasters said.

The boycott of certain journalists/anchors takes the nation back to the Emergency era, when the press was gagged, and independent opinions and voices were crushed, the NBDA said.

The association urged the opposition alliance to withdraw its decision of boycotting certain journalists and anchors as “such a decision would amount to browbeating journalists and stifling freedom of speech and expression of the media.”

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The opposition alliance on Thursday announced that it will boycott shows of 14 television anchors on several platforms.

“Pursuant to the decision taken by INDIA Coordination Committee in its meeting on September 13, 2023, the INDIA parties will not send their representatives on the shows and events of the following anchors,” a statement from the media committee of the opposition bloc said while listing the names of such journalists.

Justifying the action, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera, who is a part of the committee of opposition parties that took the decision in their virtual meeting, said some channels have put up a “nafrat ka bazaar” (market for hatred) for the last nine years.

The INDIA parties have decided not to legitimise this “hate-filled narrative” which is corroding our society, he noted. (PTI)

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The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
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