09, Oct 2018 | CJP Team
CJP received a response from Zee Media Corporation Ltd. (ZMCL) after we first sent a letter, and then filed a complaint with the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA), over hate-filled and violence-inducing content aired on Zee News in June 2018. CJP has since responded to the NBSA, requesting that our complaint may be pursued further.
On June 30, 2018, in its ‘Kya Kehta Hai India’ segment, Zee News aired a poets’ meet, or kavi sammelan. The programme featured multiple poets who called for widespread violence against the population of Jammu and Kashmir, with no regard to the hatred they were propagating. They also displayed no sensitivity towards the possible effects of such propaganda, especially on the delicate socio-cultural fabric of Indian society today. One poet, Dinesh Raghuvanshi, callously said that people against the Indian army in Kashmir would be taped not just to the bonnet of the car but on all four sides, seemingly mocking a Kashmiri man who, in 2017, was tied to the front of an Army jeep as a human shield.
CJP is committed to calling out incidences of hate, and taking action who see fit to give hate a platform and divide our society. To support our Hate Watch campaign, please donate generously here.
CJP wrote to Zee on July 9, seeking an appropriate apology to the Indian public “for carrying such irresponsible, inciteful and violence inducing content” and breaching basic media ethics and principles. After failing to get a response from Zee, CJP filed an official complaint with the NBSA on July 30. Action from the NBSA prompted Zee’s response to CJP, dated August 23. Following this, we replied to the NBSA, countering Zee’s response, which highlighted that Article 19 of the Indian Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of expression.
In CJP’s response, we acknowledged that Article 19 of the Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of expression, but noted that “reasonable restrictions can be imposed on freedom of speech and expression in the interest of security of State.” Moreover, CJP highlighted Article 51A of the Constitution, which directs that it is the duty of every Indian citizen “to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions,” and, among other fundamental duties, says that it is Indian citizens’ duty “to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women”.
CJP argued in our letter that Zee’s reply “in no way satisfactorily responds to the issues raised in our complaint,” and reiterated that Zee News violated NBSA code of conduct, which states that national security must not be violated. Mr. Raghav of ZMCL contended that the Zee News programme in question was based on the surgical strikes mounted by the Indian military in September 2016, to which CJP responded in our letter, noting that they are “in no way is the defining moment or justification” for the programme, which may be viewed here.
CJP also highlighted that “nationalism” was argued as justification for airing the Zee News programme, arguing that “we believe in no way does violence and or vitriol embody nationalism.” We reiterated our original requests, calling on the NBSA to direct Zee News to issue a public apology. CJP is also seeking that the NBSA direct the channel not to air ” such hateful content again that violates the fundamental tenets of our constitution,” and directs that the channel provide monetary compensation to a citizens’ group fighting hatred.
CJP’s response may be read here:
Zee Media Corporation’s response may be read here: