Media Body Directs Zee News to Remove Hateful Contents from Website

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Logo of Zee News

Waquar Hasan | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI – Taking action on the complaints filed by human rights group – Citizen for Justice and Peace (CJP), News Broadcasting Standard Authority (NBSA) of India directed news channel Zee News to remove the video of a particular programme which had the potential to incite violence, animosity and hatred between communities.

CJP in its complaint had alerted the NBSA about a programme titled ‘Kiya Kahta hai India’ which was broadcasted on Zee News, in June 2018 which had called for widespread violence to be committed against the people of Kashmir. After hearing the arguments from both sides, the NBSA found that the channel had indeed violated the guidelines of reportage and hence asked the channel authority to remove the video of the programme from its website.

“NBSA decided that a warning be issued to the broadcaster (Channel: Zee News) and that any future violations would be viewed seriously. NBSA also directed that the video of the said programme, if hosted, on the website of Zee News or any other links should be removed immediately and confirmed to NBSA,” reads the judgment issued by Justice R.V. Raveendran on 1 May.

Underlining the content stated in the channel’s programmes, NBSA held that the channel had violated “specific guidelines covering Reportage No. 2 Impartiality, Neutrality & Fairness and Guideline 3. Law & Order, Crime & Violence which states that ‘Broadcasters should not glamorize or in any way promote individuals, groups or organizations, that employ or advocate the use of violence or engage in criminal/nefarious activity. Hooliganism, vandalism and all forms of delinquency should not be shown in favourable light’ and Clause 7 of the Principles of Self-Regulation of the Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards endangering National Security”.

The programme in question featured poets who read their poetry calling for violence against those who question the Indian army. The poets here were seen talking about teaching a lesson to the people of Kashmir.

“It was one-sided as the channel only put together a particular view. There were no representatives in the programme to give another point of view resulting in a lack of balance in the programme. Certain portions of the language used in the programme were unwarranted and were likely to incite/instigates violence, animosity and hatred between communities. NBSA was of the view that the objectionable portions of the programme cannot be defended by terming it as a news programme on surgical strikes to celebrate the valour of our armed forces; and the programme lacked impartiality, neutrality and it instigated violence,” noted the NBSA in the judgment. The judgment also questioned the role of the programme’s anchor.

The judgment also pointed out that objectionable words and languages which are in contravention of the guidelines of the reportage such as ‘A nationalist surgical strike on those who eat from India and speak for Pakistan’, ‘The shower of fire on those demanding proof of surgical strike 56 inches roar on by the great poet of the country’ and ‘Nationalist surgical strike on those who demand proof from the army’.

The complaint was lodged by CJP president Anil Dharker and secretary Teesta Setalvad. Mayank Agarwal, Senior Manager of Zee Media Corporation Ltd, represented the Zee News before the NBSA.

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