The memory is still etched in my mind when about a decade back, denizens of twin Capital Township of Naharlagun and Itanagar would rush back to their homes or in the event they are not in a position to make it to their homes, would make it a point to be near ‘Idiot-box’, wherever they are, to catch on the 15 mins local news programme ‘News and Views’ aired from Doordarshan Itanagar, every evening at 7.30 pm. It was produced for DD Itanagar by bureaucrat turned video film maker turned journalist and NE TV media awardee and NETV correspondent for Arunachal, Taro Chatung and it became an instant hit gripping the psyche of Arunachalees. It became hit not because the content was good or the presentation was awesome-in fact, with the kind of accent and the questions put during interview, it was rather comical; but because the journalist-cum-anchor-cum-editor-cum-producer would put the questions to politicians that the masses always wanted to ask but a conventional media would not dare to. However, when the popularity of ‘News and Views’ was at it’s peak, it was taken off-the air rather haphazardly with Doordarshan Authorities citing denial of further extension to the programme.
The void left by ‘News and Views’ was filled by another local news programme ‘Aaj ki Awaj’ quite some years later. It was produced by a Hiba Kaha and unlike it’s predecessor 'News and Views', it was beamed through local Cable TV service. Devoid of any electronic news media in the state, like it's predecessor News and Views, Aaj ki Awaj too became an instant hit among the masses. Quite recently, it even celebrated it’s 250th episodes in a grandiose manner by inviting Bollywood singer Udit Narayan. Alas, their rejuvenation was short lived. Exercising the power under section 19 of the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, the Papum Pare Deputy Commisioner has prohibited the transmission or re-transmission of 'Aaj Ki Awaz'. The ban came after it was found that the programme was violating the section 5, 6(d) and 6(e) of Cable Network Rules 1994.
The DM in an order issued today under section 19 of the Act, the copy of which was released to the Press, said that the channel has been airing it's programme without registering with the registering authority or without permission from the authorized officer thereby violating section 5 of Rules 1994.
It has been found violating section 6(d) of Cable Network Rules 1994 by airing programme for over a year which are "defamatory, deliberate, false and suggestive innuendos and half truths," the order said, adding it blatantly violated section 6(e) by "encouraging or inciting violence or presenting news items against the maintenance of law and order."-Arunachal Front
No doubt, any agency violating the law should be dealt with strictly, but in this particular case what amazed me is the timing. Why now? Why after 250th episodes and not before? Was it not violating the rules earlier? Besides, aren't the charges quite flimsy, especially section 5 of Cable Network Rules 1994. Whom is it applicable to-'Aaj Ki Awaz'-a news programme or the Cable TV Service Provider, who was airing the programme?
Inadvertently, a comparison is drawn between 'News and Views' and 'Aaj Ki Awaz'. Both were known for it's 'straight forwardness' leaving the interviewee in an awkward position. Now I only wonder, did both the programmes became victim of their 'straight forwardness'?