22, Jan 2020
This has come as another victory for CJP in bringing the perpetrators of hate speech to book. The NBSA acted on CJP’s complaint against hateful content of Aaj Tak in connection with news coverage of the Ayodhya verdict and asked the channel to take down the debate episode in question from its social media platforms. Last year in May, NBSA had ruled in CJP’s favour in a complaint against Zee News which had broadcasted inflammatory content.
The NBSA (News Broadcasting Standards Authority) in its order dated January 22 has stated, “NBSA decided to give a warning to the channel be more circumvent and careful in the future. In the event that such telecasts are repeated by the broadcaster, NBSA will take appropriate action under its regulations.
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In essence, the NBSA directed the broadcaster to remove the programme related to the Ayodhya Dispute: “देश के सबसे बड़े फैसले पर सबसे बड़ी बहस अयोध्या से Rohit Sardana के साथ” in its entirety from it’s Youtube channel and report compliance to NBSA within 7 days of receipt of such direction from NBSA.”
NBSA further observed, “broadcasters would be responsible for violations for Broadcasting Standards and Guidelines in regard to the content of any programme aired on the channel; that neither any “disclaimers” before any programme nor the fact that offending statements/views expressed by independent anchors, invited guests or other participants, would relieve them from the liability/responsibility for violation of the Standards/Guidelines of NBA/NBSA”.
After considering CJP’s complaint, the channel’s response and CJP’s counter response, NBSA noted that “while the broadcaster may have no control on what a participant may state, it definitely can avoid inviting persons who have ideological leanings, which the broadcaster is aware may result in provocative statements being made in a “live” programme, which is likely to offence the sensitivities of any religious group or may create religious intolerance or disharmony especially when the verdict, in such a sensitive and crucial matter, from the Hon’ble Supreme Court was awaited.
Social Media and Twitter
While NBSA took strict note of the debate programme on Youtube, the tweet posted by Aaj Tak on its social media account with the text “Janmabhoomi hamari, Ram hamare, Masjid wale kaha se padhare” (the birthplace is ours, Ram is ours, where have these ‘mosque people’ come from?) could not be inquired into as this was only posted on the channel’s social media platform. Monitoring of hate or inciteful content on social media does not fall under the NBSA’s jurisdiction.
NBSA’s order may be read below.