NBDSA: CJP escalates complaint to authorities against Times Now Navbharat debate show The show made contentious, one-sided and misinformed statements regarding the Supreme Court and the ASI Survey of the Gyanvapi Mosque

17, Aug 2023 | CJP Team

On August 16, the Citizens for Justice and Peace filed a complaint with the News Broadcasting & Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA) against the Times Now Navbharat’s contentious and communally divisive show titled “Rashtravad | Gyanvapi Survey के बाद ‘ज्ञानवापी आंदोलन’ होगा ?” that aired on July 24, 2023. The show is based on the recent order delivered by the Supreme Court of India, wherein the court had provided interim protection against the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Survey being conducted at Gyanvapi Mosque. Notably, on July 24, at 7 am in the morning, the ASI team had reached the Gyanvapi Mosque to conduct a Survey after the Varanasi District Court given a go to conducting the extensive survey of the site. 

It is essential to note that the host Rakesh Pandey had picked up a matter that was sub-judice, and presented only one-sided facts of the case. Even before the debate had started, the host had started spreading his diatribe and distinctly partisan views. The said debate show had themes that furthered a divisive discourse that heightened a communal divide throughout its narrative and did not try to mask this motive. Such journalism or electronic media coverage mitigates against the basic principles of fair and neutral journalism. 

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The complaint stated: “it became evident in the choice and content spouted by not just the participants in the ‘debate’ but also unfortunately displayed by the host of the show that the statements being made were not unbiased or neutral. The host was even observed posing questions to the participants from the Muslim community on the debating panel in the accusatory manner, while an urbane and inclusive attitude was displayed towards participants from the majority Hindu community.”

The complaint also provided the questions that the debate was going to be based upon, which were inciting and leading to say the least. The questions were as follows:

  • “What was found in those four hours of survey that led to the chaos amongst the Muslim parties?
  • Why are the Muslim parties so afraid of uncovering the truth beneath the Gyanvapi mosque? 
  • Did the Survey team actually find the evidence of a Temple?
  • The ASI Survey has been stopped on an interim basis, what will happen afterwards? 
  • Will there be a ‘Gyanvapi movement’ after the survey?”

In the complaint, it was purported that the debate show appeared more like a one-sided show promoting the host’s version of the Hindu cause or a religious/sectarian debate rather than a news room debate. Referring to the same, CJP highlighted the violations of the guidelines of issued by the NBDSA and stated: “As per the guidelines of the NBDSA, the host is supposed to and expected to take a neutral stand, introduce a neutral theme and not side with a particular community to put any other community on the spot, but that clearly did not happen. As is apparent from the videos and the statements highlighted by us, the host Rakesh Pandey was keen on leading the debate with the question of whether the Muslim community is delaying the proceeding and hiding the truth. 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.”

Through the complaint, CJP has urged the esteemed Authority to take cognizance of this show aired by Times Now Navbharat and take necessary action against them for spreading misinformation and partisan ideology, and also in the process, hurting the religious sentiments of the minority community.

The complaint may be read here:



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