NBDSA asks Times Now, Zee News to take down programmes that broke ethicstext_fields
New Delhi: Following several complaints being made against prominent news broadcasting media, the News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority of India has found that English news channel Times Now and Hindi news channel Zee purposely violated the code of ethics laid down by the Association and demanded that offending content be taken down.
Zee News was found in violation of ethics for two programmes broadcast during the anti-farm law protests on January 19-20, titled "Taal Thok Ke: Khalistan Se Kab Saavdhan Hoga Kisaan?" (When will farmers be wary of Khalistan) and "Taal Thok Ke: Nahi Maane Kisaan Toh Kya Republic Day Par Hoga 'Gruha Yudh'?" (If farmers don't relent, will there be a 'civil war' on Republic Day?). The NBDSA statement has criticised the channel for running taglines that violate the "Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards and Specific Guideline Covering Reportage, Fundamental Standards and Guidelines 1 and 2".
The complaint made against Zee TV alleged that the channel was purposefully stirring up fear in the population through misleading and exaggerated headlines which undermined their trust in institutions of law and order.
Times Now Editor in Chief Rahul Shivshankar and anchor Padmaja Joshi have also been criticised for their irresponsible reporting during the Delhi riots. Shivshankar's programme "India Upfront" which was hosted on 14 September has been termed as an attempt to "mislead the viewers and develop hostility between communities" according to the NBSA. Joshi's reporting on the Delhi riots has also come under fire for violation of the "Fundamental Principles as enumerated in the Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards and various Guidelines issued by NBDSA" as she failed to adhere to the standards of reporting expected for communal issues, in her programme Delhi Riots: Plot To Kill Cops & Kaafirs Exposed; Peaceful Protest A Facade?"
The NBDSA has termed the actions of these anchors as 'irresponsible' as they did not conduct these news debates in an 'impartial and objective' manner befitting the grave subject matter. It has directed both organisations to take down all links related to the offending programmes and provide proof in writing of the same for the association within 7 days.
In response, the broadcaster denied all the allegations calling it 'unnecessary, frivolous and whimsical'. It claimed the constitutional protection under Article 19(1)(a) relating to free speech and expression. It claims to have disseminated the news debate in the public interest and following the relevant principles and guidelines.
However, the association has stuck to its guns and upheld the complaints filed which held that the news channels had violated the viewer's right to unbiased reporting and access to all facts of the issue.