CJP Impact: NBDSA directs Zee Hindustan to take down “Vaccine Jihad” video Reporting was replete with fake news, misinformation and communal bias; even “correction” did not follow guidelines

14, Jun 2022 | CJP Team

In a major success for CJP’s sustained Hate Watch campaign, the National Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA) has ordered Zee Hindustan to remove the Video of its offensive video on “Vaccine Jihad”.

The video of the show titled कट्ट़रपंथियों से सीधे सवाल करने वाला बहुत बड़ा खुलासा | देश में कौन कर रहा है Vaccine वाला जिहाद ? (Translation: Fanatics to be questioned on this big revelation. Who is involved in “Vaccine jihad” in the country?) aired on May 30, 2021. Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) had promptly complained to the authority last year after first complaining to the broadcaster as per the guidelines and getting no response. The broadcaster has been given seven days’ time to remove the unprofessional video from its platforms, be it Facebook, YouTube or any other.

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The entire programme, that continues to be on the Facebook page of the broadcaster was based on misinformation and was fake. The NBDSA has accepted CJP’s contention that its telecast violated the Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards and/or NBDA/NBDSA Guidelines for Racial and Religious Harmony.

Though granting at the outset that Zee Hindustan, the broadcaster was within its right to broadcast information about the vaccine and the paucity and shortage thereof, the NBDSA has, however, stated clearly that, while reporting the same sensitive information, “it must do so accurately, in a balanced manner without giving any tilt to the news report.” Besides, the Order of the NBDSA stated that the correction of mis-representation of facts by the broadcaster did not meet with the exacting standards laid down by the authority.

CJP’s contention was that the channel did not even bother to fact check the video that they kept alleging to be of an incident in India. It is amply clear from the clarification provided by us in our complaint that a fact checking website found that the video was from Ecuador which was even confirmed by that country’s government on Twitter. In a rush to break the news, the channel did not even bother to check the credentials of the news and reported on the same. This amounts to inaccurate reportage and misinformation.

On June 4, 2021, CJP had written to the broadcaster as per the NBSA guidelines but since it did not receive any response from them, the organisation approached NBDSA for action. The broadcaster filed a response to the complaint before the NBDSA dated June 28, 2021 to which CJP, the complainant filed its rejoinder on June 29, 2021. Finally online hearings took place this year on March 9, 2022. Counsel Ms Aparna Bhat appeared for CJP and Ms Ritwika nanda, Piyush Choudhary and Annie for the legal team for the broadcaster.

Even after the process of filing the complaint had begun, the broadcaster did not meet the standards for correction and redressal held the NBDSA in its order. Section 10 of the NBDSA guidelines also specifies that errors of mi-reporting etc. must happen in such a way that they attract enough attention and are not concealed. Even this standard was not met by Zee Hindustan leading to this stringent directive.

NBDSA’s order may be read here:


Content and Background of the Complaint

The show that aired on May 30 showed one Niha Khan, a nurse, who allegedly wasted around 29 syringes by inserting it into people’s arms but not administering it and disposing it. The hosts of the show constantly used offensive and discriminatory terminology to give the alleged incident a communal angle.

CJP then filed a complaint with the NBDSA against Zee Media’s channel Zee Hindustan, that aired a show about a so-called big revelation that involved “Vaccine jihad” in the country. The show’s content was about a Muslim auxiliary nurse / midwife who allegedly wasted vaccine syringes by not administering it to the beneficiaries, insinuating that this is part of a bigger conspiracy against the country and its people, and that there could be involvement of some terrorist organisation.

CJP’s complaint stated unequivocally that, the video showed by the Zee News channel was based on a news report that was misplaced, misinformed and fake. Clearly, the channel has not verified the origins of the said video and blatantly used it as video proof of Niha Khan indulging in malpractices. While this is a serious case of misinformation, the show on Zee Hindustan with the hosts did not stop at that.

Throughout the show, the following text has been repeatedly displayed to give the alleged incident a communal angle:

  • Saazish ki sanak ya mazhabi junoon (Conspiracy or religious fanaticism?)
  • Nurse ki toolkit me kitni jihadan? (How many “jihadis” in Nurse’s toolkit?)
  • Yogi ki UP me Vaccine Jihad (Vaccine Jihad in Yogi’s UP)
  • Kattarpanthiyo kab muh kohloge (When will fanatics speak up?)
  • Vaccine jihad case me karyawahi (Investigation on in Vaccine jihad case)
  • Vaccine wala jihad kattarpathiyo ab muh khologe? (Vaccine Jihad. Will fanatics speak up now?)
  • Nurse niha khan chahti thi ki corona faile aur halaat bigde (Nurse Niha Khan wanted Corona (virus) to spread and for situation to get worse)

CJP, in its complaint to NBSA dated June 23, 2021 had outlined that this video of a woman disposing of the syringe without administering has been fact checked by fact checker news portal Alt News. This video turned out to be originally from Ecuador where it was tweeted by an Ecuadorian national on April 25. The Ministry of Health of Ecuador even issued a press release on the matter accepting that the said incident in the video took place at a vaccination centre in Mucho Lote in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

The correspondent of the show casually stated that this incident should be investigated by the Anti- Terrorism Squad and mentions the name of one Dr. Afreen who is believed to be involved in this incident. Dhoka (cheating), saazish (conspiracy) are other such terms that have been repeatedly used throughout the show to vilify the minority community. CJP had attached the clip of the show with its complaint for NBSA’s perusal.

The complaint mentions that using terms like “vaccine jihad” and flashing it on the screen throughout the show in big fonts, shows the malafide intentions of the channel and the host and exposes the propaganda of spreading hatred and vilifying the Muslim community at large. It also states that the communal angle played out quite brazenly through the entire show. “As bad or worse, the panic that was being created by the hosts could feed into the low awareness about the vaccine and the vaccine hesitancy in remote rural areas or even small towns. Worse still, by targeting a young woman professional by name they have put at risk both her professional work and in a sense also opened up the possibility of a threat to her person,” reads the complaint.


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