CJP Impact! NBDSA warns News18 India against running communal narrative, fines Rs. 50,000 The channel will also have to run a ticker with NBDSA’s order for 24 hours

01, Mar 2023 | CJP Team

The News Broadcasting & Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA), in a substantial decision has imposed a fine of Rs. 50,000 on News18 India for airing its communally divisive show aired in January last year. In the show, the host, Aman Chopra had pitched Hindu voters against Muslim voters by using the term “80 vs. 20” and flagging off the show with a communally polarising question: Hinduon ke khilaf Uttar Pradesh me Mahagathbandhan tayyar ho raha hai, aur jab 80 vs. 20 ki baat ki thi Yogi Adityanath ne toh wo sahi thi? (A grand alliance is being formed in Uttar Pradesh against Hindus, and was Yogi Adityanath right when he said it is now 80 vs. 20?).

The main topic of discussion was the coming together of opposition parties against BJP and this was pitched as the opposition parties going against all Hindus thus effectively influencing voters to believe that only BJP was with Hindus. He was brazen enough to keep reiterating through the show that the opposing parties including the Congress and Samajwadi Party (SP) were against the Hindu population, making the election a religious battleground

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The show was also rife with anti-Muslim statements such as :“15% Muslim 85% Hindu par bhari” (15% Muslims overshadow 85% Hindusand “Hinduon ke khilaf sab mil gaye hai?” (Everyone has colluded against the Hindus?). As the anchor of a show on a news channel that is supposed to have a neutral and unbiased theme, the host did not even attempt to have any non-communal theme on the show.

CJP had highlighted in the complaint that the show had undertones of communal divide from the very outset, and that it looked more like a political campaign debate. It reeked of political agenda, since at that time the seven-phase Assembly elections were in progress in Uttar Pradesh. Mr Anuj Dubey was also another complainant who had approached NBDSA against this show.

The NBDSA, after conducting a hearing and giving an opportunity to the complainants and the channel to be heard, observed that “the thrust of the programme had religious undertones. The Authority deemed that by starting the debate on the premise that 20% people were ganging up against Hindus constituting 80% of the state’s population, the anchor gave the debate a communal thrust which was found to be inappropriate by the Authority. The order stated that the anchor (Aman Chopra) “crossed threshold of impartiality by making statements such as “Ye 80 ke Khilaf hai mahagathbandhan” (this alliance is against 80) and “wo keh rahe hai ki unhey Hinduo se problem hai aur wo 80 ke khilaaf hai” (he is saying that he is against Hindus)

As per NBDSA, the show violated fundamental principles of Impartiality, Objectivity and Neutrality in reporting and the Specific Guidelines Covering Reportage relating to Racial and Religious Harmony.

NBDSA has directed News18 India to publicise this order on the ticker once every hour for 24 hours between 8 am on March 6 to 8 am on March 7. The Authority has also sought a recording of the ticker aired on the channel. Further, the channel has been directed to remove the video from its website, YouTube as well as all hyperlinks including access, within 7 days of the order.

The order may be read here: https://www.nbdanewdelhi.com/assets/uploads/pdf/162_ORDER_NO__160_DT__27_2_23.pdf


A similar order has been passed by NBDSA against News18 India where a fine of Rs.25,000 has been imposed for airing a debate the members of the panel brought into question not just the various principles of Islam as a religion but also mocked speakers belonging to the Muslim community by asking them to hail Hindus gods on national television. Aman Chopra was seen cheering the Gujarat police for publicly flogging some men tied to a pole, for allegedly having pelted stones at a garba event. The NBDSA condemned the fact that the anchor condoned the unlawful violence and tried to justify it on the show.

News18 India has been reprimanded by NBDSA on previous instances as well when CJP complained against their misleading show disseminating false news. The show displayed news that bombs were hurled at a school in West Bengal and raised questions like  “Kya hijab ki ladayibambazi par aa chukihai? Toh ab hijab ke liye bam barsenge?”, “Danke ki chot par puchrahi hu kya bam barsayenge, shiksha mei shariyat layenge?” (Translation: Has the battle for the hijab reached the extent of ‘bomb-bursting’? So will bombs be hurled for hijab? I am asking openly, will bombs be hurled, will the Muslim personal law be brought into education?). The entire show was premised on false news, prejudicial to one community, and that it appeared to have been telecast with the intent of misinforming the viewers, spreading hatred and most importantly, stigmatising and demonising the Muslim community. The NBDSA, in July last year ordered for removal of  the video of the show and had asked the channel to be mindful. ““Since the issues raised in the programme were of serious nature and had serious implications, the broadcaster should have waited to obtain a clarification from the Police or Government Authorities or conducted a proper investigation and verified the news from different sources before telecasting the programme,” the order read.







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