NBDSA fines Aaj Tak for Sudhir Chaudhry’s ‘tukde tukde,’ ‘Khalistani’ remarks against Obama; penalises channels over ‘Love Jihad’ shows

PTI, Mar 2, 2024, 9:52 AM IST

New Delhi: The News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA) has penalised some television channels and ordered the removal of certain programmes from their websites, citing their propagation of “hatred and communal disharmony” as being “not in good taste”.

The self-regulatory body has also slapped a fine of Rs 1 lakh on TimesNow Navbharat and Rs 50,000 on News18 India based on complaints filed by activist Indrajeet Ghorpade for their news shows on “Love Jihad”.

‘Love Jihad’ is a term often used by right-wing activists to suggest a purported conspiracy by Muslim men to induce Hindu women to convert through marriage.

Aaj Tak has also been cautioned by the NBDSA regarding its reporting on violence during Ram Navami, particularly targeting a specific community.

The orders issued by NBDSA Chairman Justice (retd) A K Sikri asked the three channels to take down the online versions of the programmes within seven days.

In a statement, the NBDSA said the term “love jihad” must be used with “great introspection as religious stereotyping amounts to violation of the Code of Ethics and can corrode the secular fabric of the country”.

Such reportage “cause(s) irreparable harm to a community and create(s) religious intolerance or disharmony”, it added.

Following a complaint lodged by Youth Congress chief Srinivas BV, the NBDSA issued a warning to Aaj Tak for broadcasting what was described as a “fictional video” portraying a robber in its coverage of the conviction of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in the “Modi surname” case.

The NBDSA advised the broadcaster to exercise caution when airing such videos and instructed it to remove the mentioned video from the programme covering Gandhi’s conviction from both its website and YouTube channel.

In a separate order, the NBDSA levied a Rs 75,000 fine on Aaj Tak for airing a programme discussing a statement made by former US president Barack Obama regarding minorities in India. In June 2023, anchor Sudhir Chaudhary’s show ‘Black and White’ discussed Obama’s remarks concerning the disenfranchisement of minorities in India. Chaudhary used terms like “tukde tukde gang,” “Khalistani,” and “Pakistani supporters” to describe the former US president.

The NBDSA said connecting Obama’s statement with Khalistani separatists was a gross misrepresentation and violated the principles of objectivity and neutrality.

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