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Zee News told to "take down" inflammatory, violence inducing content: NBSA order

Counterview Desk
The News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) -- an independent body set up the News Broadcasters Association, a private association of top current affairs and news television broadcasters in India in order to "consider and adjudicate upon complaints about broadcasts" -- has ruled that the powerful TV channel Zee News should "take down inflammatory and violence inducing content" broadcast in June 2018 during its show Kya Kehta Hai India.
In its order issued on May 1, the NBSA stated, “NBSA has decided that a warning be issued to the broadcaster (Channel: Zee News) and that any future violations would be viewed seriously.” It added, “A 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.”
The order follows a year-long hearing based on a complaint filed by the Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), a human rights NGO, against the channel about the programme, broadcast where June 30, Dinesh Raghuvanshi, a poet, said that soldiers will enter Pakistan’s houses and kill them there, through his poetry.
The poet challenged Pakistan to fight India and free the Kashmir land it took over in 1948. He added that all the people who are against the Indian army in Kashmir, those people will not just be taped to the bonnet of the car, but all four sides. He questioned Kashmiris and asked if they have any respect for the country.
The poet's reference was to a Kashmiri shawl weaver who voted in the elections for India was tied to an army jeep with a piece of paper stuck to him which said ‘this is the fate of the stone-pelter.’ The army had tied him as a human shield as a message against stone-pelters in Kashmir.
Dr Anamika, another poet, that Kashmir breeds traitors who betray the country and bombs are grown in containers that store the saffron spice. “Remove Section 370[i] and enter every Kashmiri house. Whoever doesn’t hoist the Indian flags, let the heads of those traitors roll,” she added.
Noting that Zee News is reportedly seen by 150 million viewers and therefore has a massive reach, CJP wrote to the Zee Media Corporation Ltd (ZMCL) on July 9, seeking an appropriate apology to the Indian public from the channel, “for carrying such irresponsible, inciteful and violence inducing content” and breaching basic media ethics and principles. Failing to get a response from the Zee Media Corporation, CJP decided to file a complaint regarding the programme with the NBSA.
In its letter, CJP said that Zee News had violated NBSA code of conduct, explaining that the content the channel broadcasted “encouraged and promoted violence against a particular community, thus endangering national security”.

A CJP note:

In a huge victory for CJP’s campaign against hate speech, the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) has acted on our complaint against Zee News and asked the channel to take down inflammatory and violence inducing content broadcast in June 2018 during its show Kya Kehta Hai India.
In its order issued on May 1, the NBSA has stated, “NBSA has 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, “a 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.”
The show had been broadcast in June 2018 and featured multiple poets who called for widespread violence against the population of Jammu and Kashmir, with no regard to the hatred they were propagating. They also displayed no sensitivity towards the possible effects of such propaganda, especially on the delicate socio-cultural fabric of Indian society today.
CJP first wrote to Zee on July 9, seeking an appropriate apology to the Indian public “for carrying such irresponsible, inflammatory and violence-inducing content” and breaching basic media ethics and principles.
After failing to get a response from Zee, CJP filed an official complaint with the NBSA on July 30. CJP, through its president, Anil Dharker and secretary, Teesta Setalvad filed a detailed complaint against the television network for airing the programme that, in CJP’s considered view, was both hate-filled and violence-inducing. Our letter to the NBSA may be read here:
Action from the NBSA prompted Zee’s response to CJP, dated August 23.
Mr. Raghav of ZMCL contended that the Zee News programme in question was based on the surgical strikes mounted by the Indian military in September 2016, to which CJP responded in our letter, noting that they were “in no way is the defining moment or justification” for the programme.

CJP’s Response to Zee’s Reply

CJP replied to the NBSA, countering Zee’s response, which highlighted that Article 19 of the Indian Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of expression. We argued in our letter that Zee’s reply “in no way satisfactorily responds to the issues raised in our complaint,” and reiterated that Zee News violated NBSA code of conduct, which states that national security must not be violated.
CJP also highlighted that “nationalism” was argued as justification for airing the Zee News programme, arguing, “We believe, in no way, does violence and or vitriol embody nationalism.” We reiterated our original requests, calling on the NBSA to direct Zee News to issue a public apology.

NBSA considers submissions

In a decision communicated to CJP on February 8, 2019, the NBSA has clearly stated that, in its meeting held on January 17, 2019, the original complaint and the response of the broadcaster were considered and the original CD of the broadcasted programme was also viewed.
In the communication received by CJP, NBSA has stated:
“NBSA was of the view that the broadcaster was in breach of the Specific Guidelines Covering Reportage No. 2 Impartiality, Neutrality & Fairness 2.1 which states that ‘For balanced reportage, broadcasters should remain neutral and ensure that diverse views are covered in their reporting, especially on a controversial subject, without giving undue prominence to any particular view’ and Guideline 3. Law & Order, Crime & Violence which states that Broadcasters should not glamorize or in any way promote individuals, groups or organisations, 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 the Clause 7 of the Principles of Self-Regulation of the Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards endangering National Security.”
A hearing was scheduled for March 25, but an adjournment was sought. The hearing then took place on March 28. The counsel of the complainant submitted that the tone and tenor of the program focused on communal hatred. We submitted that a news channel cannot put out such divisive propaganda. Also, that there was “no neutrality/objectivity or balance in the programme.”
The broadcaster submitted that in the context of the government releasing videos of the surgical strikes six poets were invited to the programme “to invoke patriotic and nationalistic feelings among the people.” They also submitted that “the programme was not intended to polarise citizens nor to spread negative propaganda, nor to encourage violence against any class of people in the country/society.”
The final order was passed on May 1.
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Click HERE for NBSA order

Comments

Anonymous said…
Zee News appears to be a trumpet of BJP.

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