NBDSA slaps fine of Rs 50,000 to News18 for ‘communal debates’ hosted by Aman Chopra

News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA) has imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on News18, a news channel owned by Mukesh Ambani. News18 has been fined for hate speech and controversial remarks while broadcasting a debate program related to the Karnataka hijab case.

Justice AK Sikri, in his judgment on Friday, held that while the broadcaster was entitled to debate the issue after the Karnataka High Court ruling, the problem was with the narrative and slang given to the programme. The NBDSA, in its order, said that while debating whether or not to wear hijab in schools, there was no opportunity to stir up the debate by making it a communal issue. While this was done.

The order was filed in response to a program aired on News18 on 6 April on a complaint by Tech Ethics and Safety Professional Inderjit Ghorpade. Anchor Aman Chopra, who hosted this event, called Muslim girl students ‘Hijabi Gang’, ‘Hijbawali Ghazwa Gang’. Apart from this, it was also alleged that he had resorted to riots.
The order also alleges that, ‘Aman Chopra had claimed that the Al Qaeda chief, Zawahiri was the face and the students were his mask.’ It was claimed that the broadcaster had violated specific guidelines covering reportage, particularly fundamental standards.

News18, on the other hand, defended itself saying that through its arguments, it had reported facts that were widely available and reported about the hijab case.

The channel said that as a responsible channel, it had invited people from all walks of life including political background to participate in the debates and express their views, reflecting the balanced approach taken while airing the programme. Is.

The question before the NBDSA was whether the code of conduct and broadcasting standards were followed. The NBDSA on investigation of the issue found that there was no need to stir up the debate by making it a communal issue.

NBDSA strongly condemns the broadcaster’s tendency to associate panelists who were in favor of wearing hijab by students with Zawahiri and label them as ‘Zawahiri gang members’ ‘Zawahiri’s ambassadors’ ‘Zawahiri your god Yes, you are his fan.

The panel, in its order, said that, however, in the present case, anchor Aman Chopra not only failed to prevent the other panelists from crossing the line of words, but also gave a platform to express extreme views, which would lead to communal harmony in the country. can have an adverse effect on. Apart from this, repeated such statements not once but several times in the debate of the channel. After which the NBDSA also warned News18 not to indulge in such arguments in future by imposing a fine.

That said, the NBDSA had given ample guidance on how such programs should be run and News18 may have to be directed to ensure the presence of Aman Chopra before the authority if the violation is repeated in future. The video of the event was also asked to be removed from all platforms within seven days.

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