CJP Victory: NBDSA slams fine of Rs. 25,000 on News18 Directs them to remove partisan debate show video on Garba celebrations

01, Mar 2023 | CJP Team

Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) has yielded positive result in yet another Hate Watch complaint against biased, stigmatizing, and communally motivated news coverage. The News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA) upheld on February 27, 2022, that the show “Desh Nahin Jhukne Denge Aman Chopra,” which aired on News18, violated the authority’s guidelines for fair and temperate reporting. NBDSA ordered that its video be removed from all platforms within seven days, or by March 7, 2023.

CJP had filed this complaint on October 10, 2022 with News18 for hosting an entire “debate” in national television wherein 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. The inflammatory and contentious debate show “Desh Nahin Jhukne Denge Aman Chopra के साथ” had aired on October 4, 2022, and was hosted by Aman Chopra.

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The channel’s response was dated October 14, 2022 to our Complaint dated October 10, 2022, and CJP’s complaint to the NBDSA was dated October 22, 2022. Online hearings took place on November 11, 2022.

In its order dated February 27, 2023, the NBDSA noted NBDSA observed that the impugned programme was interspersed with statements made by the anchor such as “Gujarat Police ne unnke saath dandiya khela”; “Gujarat police ne unka ilaaj kia” Koi aur tyohar garba kea lava jisme interest ho muslim ladko ka? Aap hairani hoti hai?”; “Ye jo (Muslim) log hai jo garbe mein jaate hai, ye vande mataram, ganpati bappa morya, jai shree ram, kyun nahi bolte? Inko garbe ki aarti mein interest nahi hai” “Koi aur ek aisa Hindu tyohar ho, jisme itni aastha hon Muslim yuwakon ki, bataiye koi? Jahan ghusme ke liye jhuth bhi bolenge”; “Karnatak ke idgah me ganesh utsav nahi manane dia tha.. tab kaha 10 gaya tha Secularism”; Aisa kya mil raha hai garbe me ki Islam ki sari rigidness khatam ho jati hai” and “Garbe mein itna interest kyun hai Muslim yuwakon ka? Koi aur tyohar mein itna interest nahi hai. Lekin pehchan chupakar kyun jaate hai?”, which targeted, vilified and castigated the entire Muslim community for the actions of a few miscreants. The NBDSA held that manner in which the debate was conducted was condemnable and the statements made by the anchor had the tendency to disturb the communal harmony in the country. 

It observed, “NBDSA held that by making generalized statements about members of the Muslim community as can be seen from the statements made by the anchor and by failing to condemn police violence in the impugned broadcast, the broadcaster had violated the Code of Ethics & Broadcasting Standards, Clause 9 of the Specific Guidelines covering Reportage pertaining to Racial & Religious Harmony and the Guidelines to prevent communal colour in reporting crimes, riots, rumours and such related incidents, which states that “in broadcasting the commission of crime etc., it must be borne in mind that any communal colour to it has no relevance and, therefore, any reference to the community of the accused corrodes our secular fabric”.

Furthermore, NBDSA took serious objection to the language used by the anchor in the programme and the repetitive nature of the violations of the NBDSA. It observed, “The broadcaster had failed to condemn police violence and in fact kept looping the video of the police beating the men. The thrust of the broadcast appeared to give the impression that the actions of the police were justified.”

Accordingly, the NBDSA decided to warn the broadcaster not to repeat the violations in future and also decided to impose a fine of Rs. 25,000 on the broadcaster. The NBDSA also directed that “the video of the said broadcast, if still available on the website of the channel, or YouTube, and remove all hyperlinks including access which should be confirmed to NBDSA in writing within 7 days of the Order.”

The order maybe read here: 


Objectionable content of the show:

The show had started with the host visibly cheering the Gujarat Police for beating men publicly with a stick for allegedly having pelted stones at a garba (festive dance) event. The host had said, “Aapko Gujarat Police ka Dandiya dikhatehai (We will show you “Dandiya” played by Gujarat Police)”. Then he went on to cheer them more as the beatings continue and the victims, visibly pained and begging for mercy saying “please forgive us”. He was clearly encouraging such brute and unlawful acts. Throughout the show, the host, Aman Chopra, had not tried to mask his bias in any manner, manipulated facts and actively participating in the communal diatribe.

The host had then started the “debate” taking opinions of his speakers where one of the speakers, speaking about celebration of festivals together said that be it any festival, Hindus and Muslims should respect them and celebrate together because in this country we live together with love. The host then egged him on, “Koi aur tyohar garba kea lava jisme interest ho muslim ladko ka? (Is there any other festival in which Muslim boys are interested?)”.

There were also repeated tickers running through the show: 

“Hamare garba me tumhara kya kaam hai” (What have you got to do with our Garba) 

“Garba par pattharbaji – apradh ya jihad?” (Garba and stone pelting – Crime or Jihad?) 

“Garba me zyadatar Muslim Naam badalkar kyu aate hai?” (Why do so many Muslims change their identity to play garb) 

“Muslim ilaakon me aayojan kyu nahi” (Why is [garba] not organized in Muslim localities) 

“Toh Muslim betiya shamil kyu nahi hoti?” (Why do muslim girls not participate [in garba] 

“Mazhab chipayenge ab patthar bhi barsayenge?” (Hiding their religion, now pelting stones too?)

The show had also depicted an animated image of a man wearing a skull cap holding a stone in his hand.

Previous Wins by the CJP

On the same date, February 27, another order was issued by the NBDSA against News 18 communal show, and in the favor of CJP. In the above-mentioned complaint, CJP had moved the NBDSA on January 18, 2022, against the News 18 show “Desh Nahi Jhukne Denge – िंदुओिंके ह़िलाफ़ ागठबिंधन?”. The impugned news debate show had themes of communal divide throughout its narrative, with not just the participants of the debate but also the anchor of the show actively participating in the communal diatribe.

Deciding on the complaint, the NBDSA had noted that the thrust of the programme had religious undertones. By starting the debate on the premise that 20% people were ganging up against Hindus constituting 80%, the anchor had given the debate a thrust, which is communal in nature and not appropriate.

Therefore, in accordance with the violations of the channel, NBDSA decided to issue a warning to the broadcaster to be more careful in future as well as impose a fine of Rs. 50,000. They also directed the broadcaster to publicize NBDSA’s Order mandatorily on the ticker of its channel ‘News18 India’ once every hour for 24 hours starting from 8:00 AM on 6.3.2023 to 8:00 AM on 7.3.2023 in the following manner: “NBDSA found that the programme titled “Desh Nahi Jhukne Denge – दिं ओु िं के ह़िलाफ़ ागठबिंधन?’ aired on News18 India dated 18.1.2022 had violated the Code of Ethics & Broadcasting Standards relating to Impartiality, Objectivity and Neutrality and Specific Guidelines Covering Reportage relating to Racial & Religious Harmony”.

In July, 2022, NBDSA had succeeded in getting another communally misleading show of News 18, titled ‘Toh hijab ke liye bam barsaenge?/ Danke ki chot par’ (Asking openly- So will bombs be hurled for hijab?) that aired on February 15, 2022, removed from their channel. In the said decision, the NBDSA had taken serious objection to the language used by the anchor in the programme. It observed, “The broadcasters must be mindful of their duty towards communities and telecast programmes which are accurate, balanced and impartial and in accordance with the Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards and Guidelines.”


Image Courtesy: altnews.in


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