New Delhi: The News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA) has asked News18 India, TimesNow and Zee News to remove from their online platforms videos of certain programmes aired by them after it found them to be in violation of the Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards and Specific Guidelines.
In an order on a complaint against News18 India for its programme ‘Desh Nahi Jhukne Denge’, the NBDSA found the debate on the premise that 20 per cent Muslims were ganging up against Hindus constituting 80 per cent of the country’s population to be violating the fundamental principles of impartiality, objectivity and neutrality in reporting.
The NBDSA imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on the channel and also directed it to run a ticker once every hour for 24 hours, starting at 8 am on March 6, stating that the said programme was found to be in violation of the Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards relating to Impartiality, Objectivity and Neutrality and Specific Guidelines Covering Reportage relating to Racial and Religious Harmony.
Another programme pertaining to alleged police action during ‘Garba’ events in parts of Gujarat was broadcast on October 4, 2022. The NBDSA said News18 India had failed to condemn the police action and imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on the channel.
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A separate order pertained to a News18 India report dated September 29, 2022, about Muslim men being physically assaulted by alleged Bajrang Dal members at ‘Garba’ events. The NBDSA said while the broadcaster had merely reported the said incidents as transpired in Ahmedabad, Indore and Akola, the language used in the tickers gave a ”communal tilt to the broadcast”.
A complaint was also lodged against the news channel’s August 5, 2022, ”Desh Nahi Jhukne Denge” debate titled ”Ghazwa-e-Hind”. The authority observed that the broadcast attempted to communalise the issue in respect of demographic changes around the border areas of the country due to infiltration. In this matter also, it imposed a fine of Rs 20,000 on the channel.
In its order on a complaint against a Zee News programme, dated July 12, 2022, related to the Uttar Pradesh-Population Control Bill, the NBDSA said it was permissible to conduct a debate on the issue of population explosion, but the broadcast apparently ”lacked objectivity and neutrality as it disproportionately focused only on one religion/community as being solely responsible for the population growth”.
The NBDSA, in the case of a Times Now broadcast dated September 23, 2022, about a protest by the supporters of the since-banned Popular Front of India in Pune, cautioned the broadcaster to be more careful in future while reporting such stories.