11, Oct 2022 | CJP Team
Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) has written to the India Today Group after its channel, Aaj Tak aired a show on September 30, 2022 that had themes of communal divide throughout its narrative and did not try to mask this in any manner, with the host Sudhir Chaudhary manipulating facts and actively participating in the communal diatribe. The organization has objected to the tone, tenor and choice of words spoken as well as displayed on the screen during the show. These are in direct violation of the code of ethics and broadcasting as laid down by the News Broadcasting Statutory Digital Authority (NBDSA).
The show was flagged off by the host with a communally polarising question: Muslim yuvaon ka garba ke pandolon mei jaane ka makshad akhir hai kya? (What is the reason for Muslim youth to go to garba pandals?) CJP has mentioned in its letter that the show projects its prejudice against Islam and its followers by questioning why Muslims should take interest in participating in a festival that is celebrated by Hindus.
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Some extracts from the show are mainly comments made by Chaudhary, the host of the show, which clearly make his communal narrative visible and obvious, threatening to mar, even destroy the secular fabric of the country. Examples of these are:
…breaking news to aapne bahut suni hogi, lekin aaj hum aapke liye ek breaking vishleshan karenge. us khabar ka vishleshan karenge ji par hamare desh mein aaj kal bahut bahas ho rahi hai. (You must have heard a lot of breaking news, but today we will do a breaking analysis for you. We will analyze that news, but there is a lot of debate in our country these days.)
…aur vah khabar hai garba karyakramon mein muslim yuvakon ke upar lagayi gayi rok.(And that news is the ban imposed on Muslim youths in garba programs)
The brazen remarks that have been made by Sudhir Chaudhary directly fall along communal lines, which goes against the ethics of journalism and principles of self- regulation, including the code laid down by the NBDSA. The host’s specific questions like Inn garba pandalo mei muslim ladke hi kyu jaa rahe hai? Muslim ladkiyan kyu nahi, are completely unwarranted and baseless. Does the host even know how many Muslim girls are involved in participation/playing garba in these pandals? Is there any data to backup such claims being made on national television? As the anchor of 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.
This is not the first time that CJP has filed a complaint against the islamophobic and communal comments made by Sudhir Chaudhary. In March, 2020, Zee News aired a programme hosted by Mr. Sudhir Chaudhary called “DNA: Jammu मेंज़मीनके ‘इस्लामीकरण’ का DNA टेस्ट” (DNA test of Islamic conversion of land in Jammu). In the program, the host, Mr. Sudhir Chaudhary, showed his viewers a Jihad diagram propagating various types of Jihad in the country categorising them as soft jihad and hard jihad. CJP had first filed a complaint with the channel, and then moved the NBDSA against the same.
The complaint filed against the Black and White show highlights that the show and comments made thereunder violates the many guidelines issued by the News Broadcasting Digital and Standards Authority (NBDSA) as also its Code of Ethics. In an event there is no satisfactory response from the India Today Group, CJP will be compelled to submit a complaint to the NBDSA.
The complaint may be read here:
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