Broadcasting Authority Pulls Up Zee News, Times Now For Violating Ethics Code, Directs To Take Down Videos

Image Credits: Twitter/ Wikipedia

The Logical Indian Crew

Broadcasting Authority Pulls Up Zee News, Times Now For Violating Ethics Code, Directs To Take Down Videos

The News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA) found 'Zee News' breaching the code of ethics during its coverage of the farmers’ protest, on Republic Day this year, by linking it to Khalistanis. Meanwhile, two programmes by 'Times Now' on the Delhi riots case last year violated the ethics code laid down in India.

The News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA), in its November 19 order, pulled up Hindi television news channel Zee News and English news channel Times Now for violating the code of ethics in three videos during broadcast.

While NBDSA found that Zee News breached the code of ethics during its coverage of the farmers' protest on Republic Day, this year, by linking it to Khalistanis; two programmes by Times Now on the Delhi riots case last year violated the ethics code laid down in the country, The News Minute reported.

NBDSA is a private and voluntary association of news television broadcasters in India. It has been formed to consider and adjudicate upon complaints about broadcasts and ensure objectivity and impartiality in reporting.

The Violations

Incidents of violation were reported in Zee News' two programmes related to the farmers' protest 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?), which were aired on January 19 and January 20.

The complaint highlighted that the programmes were "designed to create excessive fear and anguish amongst the audience and erode public confidence in the capacity of national institutions meant to protect them."

As per another complaint, the anchor repeatedly said that protesting farmers removed and threw the National Flag from the Red Fort in Delhi and hoisted the Khalsa flag in its place on Republic Day, Live Law reported.

Zee News Responds

However, in its response dated February 24, Zee News denied all allegations levelled against it and termed them completely false, motivated, and based on a complete misinterpretation of the contents of the impugned broadcasts.

They contended that the first two impugned programmes contained a fair and objective panel discussion /debate on various important issues pertaining to the involvement of Khalistani elements into the farmers' protests and the third program was related to live telecast from Red Fort on 26.01.2021, wherein, certain elements hoisted the Kisan Union flag at Red Fort.

It was also stated by the news channel that it had conducted a fair and objective panel discussion on whether the farmers should go ahead with the tractor parade in New Delhi on Republic Day, particularly when there was evidence to show the infiltration of pro-Khalistani elements in the protest.

As a responsible news channel, Zee News, in its response added, it has consistently raised the issues of farmers of this country and the impugned programmes were also in the interest of the protesting farmers, so that the anti-national elements could not take advantage of their protest.

The Association has held that the "Headlines/Taglines used clearly violated the Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards and Specific Guideline Covering Reportage, Fundamental Standards and Guidelines 1 and 2. It decided to issue Specific Guidelines relating to broadcasting/publishing of Taglines, Hashtags and use of Images/Photographs."

Further, it 'expressed its disapproval to the broadcaster,' and has directed the Hindi channel that the video of the said broadcast, if still available on its website, YouTube channel, or any other links, should be pulled down as soon as possible, and the same should be confirmed to NBDSA in writing within a week.

Complaint Against Times Now

Regarding Times Now, a complaint was filed against the Editor-in-Chief and news anchor Rahul Shivshankar, who hosted the show 'India Upfront,' for his September 14 programme titled "Shocking Secret admission out in Umar's arrest, Does left lobby to know the truth Delhi riots key witness intimidated threat linked to kingpin? Utkarsh Mishra, the complainant, had written to NBDSA saying that Shivshankar talked about a "secret meeting of Leftists," when the meeting was basically a webinar on a Zoom call that was uploaded as a Facebook Live video.

"The broadcaster clearly attempted to mislead the viewers and spread hatred between communities, regarding the nature, content and object of the discussion held during the programme," the complaint said.

Another complaint was filed against anchor Padmaja Joshi, for violating various guidelines of the Code of Ethics, Specific Guidelines for Reporting Court Proceedings and Guidelines to prevent communal colour in reporting crimes, rumours, riots, and similar incidents — during a Newshour episode called, "Delhi Riots: Plot To Kill Cops And Kaafirs Exposed; Peaceful Protest A Facade?"

The complainant stated that the channel had not been covering the Delhi riots investigation, based on facts and in a fair manner.

NBDSA has found that "the anchors of the disputed programmes did not conduct the debates impartially and objectively. Therefore, they have violated the Fundamental Principles outlined in the Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards and various Guidelines issued by the Association."

Also Read: Delhi Records Over 7,000 Dengue Infections This Year, 5,600 Cases In November Alone

Contributors Suggest Correction
Writer : Tashafi Nazir
Editor : Palak Agrawal
Creatives : Tashafi Nazir

Must Reads