The News Broadcasting Standards Authority has summoned Zee News in connection to a complaint filed by activist Saket Gokhale over a special report presented by its editor-in-chief, Sudhir Chaudhary, on different kinds of ‘Jihad’ practised in India.
The NBSA has come to prima facie finding that the tone and tenor of the programme was “divisive’ and the channel was certainly “targeting a particular community”, against the secular ethos the country.
“The broadcast had also violated the fundamental principles of Code of Ethics such as impartiality, objectivity, neutrality & fairness in reporting,” the NBSA has said in summon to Zee News For Allegedly Targeting Muslim Community.
It has summoned two representatives from Zee News Zee News For Allegedly Targeting Muslim Community and to remain present during a virtual hearing on November 26, 2020, failing which the matter will be dealt with without further reference.
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Gokhale had complained that in the impugned programme, aired on March 11, 2020, the channel made a diagrammatic representation especially targeting the Muslim community in Jammu.
The NBSA has also noted that in the said programme of Zee News For Allegedly Targeting Muslim Community, the anchor was questioning the Roshini Act and whether the purpose of the law was to in fact allow a change in the demography of Jammu from being a Hindu majority region into a region with Muslim population in majority.
NBSA also noted that in the programme of Zee News For Allegedly Targeting Muslim Community, the anchor presented different kinds of “Jihad” practiced in India through a diagrammatic representation which aimed at further increasing the hatred /alienation of the Muslim community and targeting the said community specifically.
Zee News violated the following:
It has therefore observed that Zee News For Allegedly Targeting Muslim Community, prima facie, violated the Fundamental Principles of the Code of Ethics No 6: “Broadcasters shall ensure a fall and fair presentation of news“.
It is also said to have breached the Guidelines on Broadcast of Potentially Defamatory Content No 5 which states that “a news anchor/ journalist/ presenter should not make any derogatory, derisive or judgmental statements as part of reporting or commentating“.
Further, it is stated to have breached the Specific Guideline Covering Reportage relating to Racial & Religious Harmony, at Clause 9 states that “Racial and religious stereotyping should be avoided” and “Caution should be exercised in reporting content which denigrates or is likely to offend the sensitivities of any racial or religious group or that may create religious intolerance or disharmony“.