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NBSA fines News18 Kannada, Suvarna News, censures Times Now

The NBSA action came on a complaint filed by CAHS
hemin Joy
Last Updated : 17 June 2021, 13:40 IST
Last Updated : 17 June 2021, 13:40 IST
Last Updated : 17 June 2021, 13:40 IST
Last Updated : 17 June 2021, 13:40 IST

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National Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) of News Broadcasters Association (NBA) has fined Kannada channels News18 Kannada and Suvarna News and English channel Times Now has been censured for gaps in reporting news targeting Tablighi Jamaat members last year, complainant Campaign Against Hate Speech (CAHS) said on Thursday.

The NBSA action came on a complaint filed by CAHS against the "hateful coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic in which they had targeted members of Tablighi Jamaat as well as the
entire Muslim community".

According to the CAHS statement, News18 Kannada has been fined Rs one lakh to be paid to the NBA within seven days for violating the Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards, Principles of Self Regulation relating to impartiality and objectivity.

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The "manner in which the programmes were presented was highly objectionable" and the report on Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi was based on "pure conjecture". "The tone, tenor and language were crass, prejudiced and disrespectful. The programmes were prejudicial, inflammatory, and crossed all boundaries of good taste and sensibility without any concern for the feelings of a religious group," it said.

The NBSA has also directed the channel to air an apology on June 23 before the 9 PM news which has to be presented both in text and in voice-over. The CAHS had flagged two programmes of News18 Kannada.

Suvarna News has been fined Rs 50,000 for violating the Fundamental Principles of Impartiality, Objectivity and Neutrality in Reporting as well as guideline relating to Racial and Religious Harmony.

Both channels have been asked that video of the broadcasts on the channel’s website, Youtube or other links should be removed immediately and the NBSA informed in writing within seven days, the CAHS statement said.

The NBSA examined seven shows of Suvarna News flagged by CAHS and held that the “entire blame/cause of the spread of the Covid-19 virus was linked to the Tablighi Jamaat and in turn to a particular community" in six of the seven shows. "The titles of the programmes have an insidious effect which would incite communal violence. The programmes had gone beyond facts and certainly crossed the limits of good taste and decency in reporting," the CAHS quoted the NBSA as saying.

Times Now has been issued a censure "for telecasting…a programme on a sensitive issue which could create communal dissensions amongst communities" and the broadcaster has been advised to be “careful in choosing its panellists and try to avoid those persons to be panellists who are known in the public domain to have rabid and extreme views”.

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Published 17 June 2021, 13:40 IST

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