25, Jan 2023 | CJP Team
Citizens for Justice and Peace has filed a complaint with the News Broadcasting & Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA) against Times Now Navbharat over their debate show aired on December 30, 2022 titled ‘Rashtravad | 2024 में Ram Mandir का उद्घाटन… अभी हथौड़े’ की बात क्यों?’.
The debate topic was an inflammatory comment made by a so-called maulvi Sajid Rashidi, known to have extremist and unpopular views, mostly not representative of the Muslim population at large. who is generally known for making such statements to grab attention on TV news. He made certain comments about Ayodhya and Ram Mandir which have the potential to blow up into a communal disharmony. By picking his statements as a news point and a point to conduct an hour long debate upon, the channel intended to fan the flames of a discourse that was put to rest with the Supreme Court judgement in the Ayodhya land dispute verdict.
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The show used the following tickers to display throughout the show:
Hindustan me ‘gazwa-e-hind’ ka plan? (0.12) (Gazwa-i-hind being planned in India?)
Maulana Musalmano ko bhadkayenge (0.16) (Maulana will incite Muslims)
Ram mandir todne ko uksayenge? (0.20) (Will he incite them to destroy ram mandir?)
Musalmano ko uksa rahe hai sajid rashidi? (0.24) (Is Sajid Rashidi inciting Muslims?)
Islamic rashtra wali sazish decode? (0.27) (Conspiracy of ‘Islamic’ nation decode)
2024 me ram mandir ka udghatan abhi hathode ki baat kyu? (5:07) (Ram Mandir will be inaugurated in 2024 then why are they talking of a ‘hammer’ now?)
These “questions” were raised based on a frivolous stamen by one extremist speaker, who is known to raise such controversies and attend debate shows as a so called representative of the interest of Muslims in the country. As per the admission of the anchor, the statement was made to Times Now alone, which casts aspersions on the credibility of the editorial decision to conduct this debate in the first place. The statement itself seems out of context and was given only to the channel.
The show involved walk outs, physical scuffles, abusive language that needed to be censored by the channel and yet the debate fulfilled its time slot and continued with its diatribe.
The complaint states that, “the channel brazenly picked up a communal statement and made it a point of debate, and further exacerbated the impact of a divisive statement by calling in speakers with radicalized views and allowing them to hurl abuses at each other and also physically assault each other. Any responsible channel would have debarred such speakers from its platform and stopped the show then and there. Yet, the host continued with the show while making some extremely problematic statements towards the end of the telecast. For example, by saying, “by 2047 there will be an Islamic nation” “Plan to capture the country by increasing population”. All this while, displaying a picture of a skull-cap clad crowd.”
The complaint asserts that “the intention of the show from the word go was to play with heightened communal sentiments since the statements made by Rashidi to the channel alone, were inflammatory and were not desirous to become a point of debate.”
The complaint may be read here: