7 shows broadcasted by mainstream news channels to be removed orders NBDSA, fines imposed in some cases

These shows were on issues such as ‘Love Jihad’, pride parades, political opponents; since 2018, a total of 23 complaints have been filed by CJP with the NBDSA

In the past few days, a total of seven orders have been issued by the News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA) directing television news channels to take down videos from their websites and channels. These shows had broadcasted by channels such as News18 India, Times Now Navbharat and Aaj Tak in the last two years. Complaints had been filed against these shows for targeting minority religious communities and other marginalised communities, spreading hatred and encouraging false narratives in the society. NBDSA found these impugned shows to be spreading hatred and communal disharmony by “violating the code of ethics and broadcasting standards and the specific guidelines covering reportage on racial and religious harmony”. While the common penalty imposed was the taking down of the videos, in some fines have also been imposed on the broadcasters.

On February 29, activist Indrajeet Ghorpade received four favourable orders from NBDSA. There orders were issued by the statutory commission, presided over by retired Supreme Court judge Justice AK Sikri, upon three complaints filed by the complainant against three separate news channels for airing news programmes that were violative of the guidelines set by the NBDSA. Through the three orders, a monetary penalty of Rs. 1 lakh has been imposed upon Times Now Navbharat Rs 1,00,000, while News 18 India has to pay a fine of Rs 50,000. Furthermore, the commission has issued a warning to Aaj Tak. Additionally, all three channels have been directed to remove the online uploads of the offending programs within seven days. Notably, all the three have been found guilty of airing content that spreads hatred and communal disharmony.

1. Order of Times Now Navbharat:

Complaint: On June 3, 2023, activist Indrajeet had filed a complaint with Times Now Navbharat. He had flagged the tickers and headlines showcased during the show that had been aimed at demonising and spreading hatred against the Muslim Community. The complainant had also highlighted the many generalised statements against the Muslim community that were made during the show with no basis. Notably, the murder of Sharaddha Walker was repeatedly given a communal angle and used to colour Muslim men as suspicious.

Order: NBDSA imposed a fine of Rs. 1 lakh on Times Now Navbharat after finding anchor Himanshu Dixit to have targeted the Muslim community and generalised inter-faith relationships as “love jihad”. In its order, the commission took objection to the Times Now Navbharat program on “love jihad” and observed, “on a perusal of the impugned broadcast, it appears that at the very beginning of the broadcast, the anchor has concluded that men from a certain community lured women from another community by hiding their religious identity and then committed violence or murders against such women and every such violence or murder committed on women of a certain community related to ‘love jihad’. This is evident from the questions raised and statements made by the anchor during the impugned broadcast. When some of the panellists expressed their concerns regarding the communal angle being given to such alleged incidents and regarding selective cases of violence against women where the perpetrator belonged to a particular community, the anchor shouted them down and did not allow them to express their views.

In furtherance to this, NBDSA also observed that there may be some instances where boys from a particular community married Hindu girls, however the same does not give a warrant for news anchors to make generalised statement. The order stated, “Some such instances should not lead to making generalized statements regarding inter-faith marriages by giving it a communal colour. Every citizen, from whichever religion, has a right to marry a person of his/her choice, irrespective of the religion to which he/she belongs. Merely because a Hindu girl married a boy of another faith would not tantamount to love jihad unless it is established that such a Hindu girl was duped or coerced into the marriage. Further, because of few incidents of such forced marriages, an entire community cannot be branded. Thus, it was not proper to generalize the incidents with the tickers such as “Love तो बहाना है … Hindu बेटियाँ निशाना हैं” Jihadiyon se Beti Bachao”.

NBDSA further pointed out that the term “love jihad” should be used sensibly in future broadcasts since religious stereotypes can damage the country’s secular fabric. NBDSA considered that if incidents had been discussed or debated independently, they would have fallen under the bounds of journalistic freedom and stated “It is the generalization of these incidents by targeting the entire community, which is found to be violative of the principles of Impartiality, Objectivity and Neutrality under the Code of Ethics & Broadcasting Standards (“Code of Ethics”) and the Specific Guidelines covering Reportage relating to Racial and Religious Harmony. In the impugned broadcast, the anchor had also violated Clauses (f) and (h) of the Specific Guidelines for Anchors conducting Programmes including Debates”.

The complete order can be viewed here:


2. Order of News 18:

Complaint: A total of four shows that had been aired by News18 were complained against by activist Indrajeet. It had been contended by the complainant that these four shows. All of which were based around the themes of ‘Love Jihad’, had violated the Code of Ethics & Broadcasting Standards and Guidelines relating to neutrality, accuracy, fairness, religious harmony, sensationalisation of crime, negative stereotyping and good taste.

Order: Through its order, the NBDSA slapped a fine of Rs. 50,000 on News 18 India for three shows, two of which were anchored by Aman Chopra, and one by Amish Devgan. These shows were found to have communalized the Shradda Walker case as “love jihad.” Notably, the remaining one broadcast was a subject-matter of an FIR registered in Bharatpur, Rajasthan and thus, the commission could not take cognizance of the same.

In the order, the commission stated that “while the media has the right to conduct debates on any topic of its choice, however, it may have been inappropriate for the broadcaster to haveconducted several debated on the subject of “love jihad” while linking it to the Sharaddha Walker murder case”.

It further added that “NBDSA stated that the term ‘love jihad’ should not be used loosely and should be used with great introspection in future broadcasts as religious stereotyping can corrode the secular fabric of the country, cause irreparable harm to a community and create religious intolerance or disharmony.”

The complete order can be viewed here:


3. Order of Aaj Tak:

Complaint: The third complaint had been filed by activist Indrajeet against the ‘Black and White’ show anchored by Sudhir Chaudhary and aired on Aaj Tak. Through the complaint, the complainant has specifically pointed to the false statements made by the host to target and create hatred and fear against the Muslim community. In the complaint, the complainant wrote that “the broadcasters chose to look away from the rampant discrimination that Dalits and Muslims face. Instead, it ran a show portraying Muslim people as rioters and Muslim areas as mini-Pakistan.”

 Order: In its order, NBDSA observed that there would not have been a problem with the broadcast if the broadcaster had confined its analysis to the incidents of communal violence, but the tickers that were shown during the programme portrayed a completely different picture. Additionally, NBDSA noted that the violence committed by a few miscreants was generalised by the anchor to target a particular community.

The order stated “NBDSA observed that there would have been no problem with the broadcast if the broadcaster had confined its analysis to the incidents of communal violence. However, by broadcasting the following tickers ‘today Muslim areas, tomorrow Muslim country’, a completely different colour had been given to the programme.”

With this, the authority directed the broadcaster to remove the video of the said broadcast from its channels and websites within 7 days of the order.

The complete order can be viewed here:


4. Order of India Today

Complaint: On June 30, 2023, a complaint against a programme titled “Nudity sparks outrage at USA pride parades- How India’s LGBTQ+ lead Responsibility” aired by India Today had been filed by activist Indrajeet. Through the complaint, the complainant has emphasised upon the false images that were show during the show to spread hatred and homophobia. In the complaint, the complainant had stated that “a simple reverse image search can help separate facts from fake news. However, it is clear that the broadcaster was either incapable of fact-finding or had malafide intent to sensationalise and spread fear against minority communities.”

Order: Noting that the broadcaster had utilised images sourced from USA and made false assertions regarding them to instil fear amongst the audience regarding the LGBTQIA+, NBDSA observed that the visuals and images used were “totally out of context” and were not part of the incident covered was a violation of the principle of accuracy. With this, the commission ordered the broadcaster to edit the video of the said broadcast by expunging the objectionable parts or if that is not possible, to remove the video, from all websites and channels within 7 days.

Apart from following the Code of Ethics & Broadcasting Standards and Guidelines, members were also circulated a set of guidelines for broadcasting on issues concerning the LGBTQIA+ community, for “strict compliance” after the commission noted that several complaints had been received by concerning reporting on LGBTQIA+ issues.

The complete order can be viewed here:


Other orders issued:

In addition to the aforementioned four orders, NBDSA had issued more such orders. Another ‘Black and White show’ hosted by Sudhir Chaudhary on former US President Barack Obama’s comments on the protection of minorities in India while PM Narendra Modi was on a state visit to America came under the scanner of the authority. On the complaint filed against the same, the NBDSA found that apart from finding “a violation of the principles of Objectivity and Neutrality”, the broadcast had violated the Specific Guidelines for Anchors, which stated that “all programmes must be presented in an impartial, objective and neutral manner”.

As per a report of the Indian Express, the order stated that by using words “Tukde Tukde Gang”, “Khalistani in Punjab” and “Pakistani supporters” instead of confining its discussion to Obama’s statement, the broadcaster had failed to present a controversial issue with sensitivity and objectivity. With this, NBDSA slapped the broadcaster with a fine of Rs. 75,000 and directed them to remove the video of the show. In addition to this, the broadcaster was also advised by the commission to ensure that “in future broadcasts, controversial subjects are fairly presented with strict adherence to the principles of Neutrality, Impartiality and Objectivity in the broadcast”.

Another complaint had been filed against an episode the ‘Black and White show that aired on Aaj Tak in March 24 last year. . Notably, the show had aired a day after a Surat court convicted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi of defamation for a 2019 speech about thieves with the surname Modi. The said complaint had been filed by Youth Congress president Srinivas B V on a fictional video of Rahul Gandhi that was shown in the programme. In its decision, NBDSA observed that the “story of the robber and the imputation it carried” with Gandhi’s conviction was “not in good taste” and “should have been avoided”. The NBDSA also advised the channel to be “careful while airing such fictional videos” in future.

CJP complaints to NBDSA over the years:

Since 2018, Citizens for Justice and Peace has been consistently monitoring news programmes being broadcasted contentiously and with the aim of spreading its partisan agenda. Over the years, a total of 23 complaints have been filed by the human rights organisation with the NBDSA. Out of these 23 complaints, 8 have been filed against Times Now Navbharat, 3 against Zee News, 4 against Aaj tak and 2 against Times Now.

In addition to this, out of the complaints filed, 4 had Sudhir Chaudhary as its host/anchor, 2 had been hosted by Aman Chopra and 7 were against shows hosted by Rakesh Pandey. Notably, a total of 7 complaints remain pending with NBDSA and the arguments are yet to take place. Out of the remaining 15 complaints that have been decided by the commission, 13 have resulted in removal of the contentious shows. Additionally, in two cases, monetary penalty of Rs.50,000 and Rs. 25,000 were also imposed.

Details of the complaints filed can be viewed here:



CJP’s NBDSA Complaints 2023: How persistent monitoring put a check on unbridled hate, one channel at a time

CJP Impact! NBDSA orders removal of two Times Now Navbharat shows (videos)

CJP Impact! NBDSA orders AAJ TAK’s Sudhir Chaudhary show to be pulled down, censors second

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