31, Oct 2019 | Sanchita Kadam
The complaint sent to Aaj Tak against the inflammatory content aired by them and their provocative Twitter post failed to elicit a response. Hence, in pursuance to our campaign against hateful content, we have filed a complaint before the NBSA seeking punitive action.
On October 16, the NBSA (News Broadcasting Standards Authority) issued a special advisory explicitly mentioning guidelines to be followed by news channels while telecasting news and holding debates pertaining to the Ayodhya case, which completed its hearings on the same day. Despite of this, Aaj Tak not only aired a debate where participants were allowed to make hateful statements against the minority community, it also made a post on twitter about another show with a communally sensitive and hate inducing title.
CJP is dedicated to finding and bringing to light instances of Hate Speech, so that the bigots propagating these venomous ideas can be unmasked and brought to justice. To learn more about our campaign again hate speech, please become a member. To support our initiatives, please donate now!
In a bid to put an end to publishing of such content, we wrote a complaint and sent it to Aaj Tak to give them an opportunity to right their wrong. In the complaint we requested them to take down the offensive content and also informed them that should they fail to take necessary action, we will be compelled to file a complaint with the NBSA for necessary punitive action.
In the absence of any response or action from the team of Aaj Tak we filed a complaint with the NBSA.
In the complaint we described how the show as well the tweet posted by Aaj Tak provoked negative sentiments against one community and was an attempt to sensationalize the Ayodhya case news coverage. Even the views expressed by one of the guests on the debate show was extremely inflammatory and prejudicial to law and order situation.
The show was titled “देश के सबसे बड़े फैसले पर सबसे बड़ी बहस अयोध्या से Rohit Sardana के साथ” and was uploaded on Aaj Tak’s Youtube channel and it has more than 4 lakh views up until now. One of the guests on the show, who was addressed as “Swami Karpatri Ji Maharaj” has expressed some controversial and abhorrent views with respect to the Ayodhya case and declared “18 November se ayodhya me ShriRam Janmabhoomi ka nirman hoga” and “faisla nischittaur se hai, mere paksh me hai” (On November 18, the formation/birth of Ram Janmabhoomi will begin; the Judgement will undoubtedly be in our favour.)
The tweet was an image with a catch line for their show “Desh Tak” and the text in the image read: “Janmabhoomi hamari, Ram hamare, Masjid wale kaha se padhare” (the birthplace is ours, Ram is ours, where have these ‘mosque people’ come from?)
Clearly, both the show and the tweet are violative of the following guidelines issued by the NBSA,
“8. Care should be taken to ensure that no opportunity is given to anyone to express any extreme view, including in debates in order to influence the viewers.
9.Debates which are provocative and inflammatory and likely to create tension in the public should be avoided.”
The news channel has also violated the principles of the code of conduct of NBSA pertaining to Impartiality and objectivity in reporting, ensuring neutrality and endangering national security. Additionally, Aaj Tak has also violated the Specific Guidelines Covering Reportage relating to Impartiality, Neutrality & Fairness; Law & Order, Crime & Violence and Racial & Religious Harmony.
Thus, we were compelled to file a complaint before the NBSA. In the past as well, CJP had filed a complaint of a similar nature before the NBSA against a show aired on Zee News which featured multiple poets who called for widespread violence against the population of Jammu and Kashmir. The Authority, after taking cognizance of the complaint had issued an order directing Zee News to remove the content from all links on the internet and warned against airing such content in the future.
We file this complaint with the belief that this time as well the NBSA will uphold its code of conduct and guidelines and will take appropriate measures and keep errant news channels in check so that broadcast journalism is saved from becoming a vehicle for propagation of othering and hate.
Here is the copy of the complaint sent to NBSA for immediate action.