Budaun Double murder case communalised by Zee News during its debate segment, CJP sends complaint

On March 19, a salon owner, who happened to be Muslim, reportedly killed two minor boys who were brothers and belonged to the majority Hindu community; difference in faiths of the accused and victim gave an opportunity to mainstream media to communalise the issue

On March 27, Citizens for Justice and Peace wrote to Zee Media Corporation Ltd. regarding a live debate news segment that aired on Zee News on March 20, 2024 on the Budaun double murder case. The title of the said show was “Debate on Budaun encounter LIVE: Encounter पर क्यों उठा रहे सवाल? Javed | Sajid | Breaking news”. The entire show was shown repeatedly in a loop over 11 hours by the channel, not only making the psychological targeted impact even more dangerous but suggesting a pernicious intent behind such repetitious, problematic coverage. The actual panel discussion was over 35 minutes.

In the detailed complaint, CJP has highlighted the problematic stance taken by the anchor while dealing with the said case wherein a man, who happened to be Muslim, had allegedly murdered two children, who happened to be Hindu, and given it a communal twist. It was argued by the complainant that the show had been designed in such a way that it gave a one-sided communal view of an issue that did not warrant for any such sectarian narrative.

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The complaint also states that “While the complainant surely acknowledges the heinous and brutal nature of the crime, we also wish to highlight the problematic statements made by the anchor throughout the coverage of the show. From using derogatory and stigmatizing phrases such as “Talibani style of murder”, the anchor has indulged in Muslim bashing throughout the half hour long show and tried to fan religion-based communal tensions.”

Including extracts from the shown wherein the anchor, Pradeep Bhandari can be observed dragging in the religious identities of both the accused and victims unnecessarily, the complaint included extracts from the show. It can be observed on watching that this tactic was utilised to bash the entire Muslim population. Even during the debate, the panellists of which were two Muslims and three Hindus, an intensely polarising environment was constantly created for the Muslim participants. As has been noted in CJP’s complaint, the anchor was even observed posing questions to the participants from the Muslim community on the debating panel in an accusatory manner, while an urbane and inclusive attitude was displayed towards participants from the majority Hindu community.

Moreoever, the complaint states “It is also essential to highlight here that every attempt made by senior lawyer Asghar Ali to shed light upon the laws governing encounter by police or the missing motive in this matter was deemed as sympathy for the Muslim accused by the panellist, and even the whole Muslim community. The anchor, who brought in many previous instances of bomb blasts and legal counsels defending those accused, conveniently forgot the right to a legal counsel and defence that every accused/incarcerated has been guaranteed by Indian laws.”

The complaint further also pointed out that the same 35-minutes debate was played in a loop and turned into an 11-hour coverage, resulting in an even higher potential of generating bias, even hatred as repetitious such coverage is known psychologically to have this impact on the viewer. With this, the complainant has urged the broadcaster to remove the above-mentioned content from all social media accounts of Zee’s channel and issue a public apology for the communal reportage.

Notably, the broadcaster has till April 3, 2024 to respond to our complaint. In case the broadcaster fails to reply to our complaint or the complainant is not satisfied with the reply, the said complaint will be escalated to the News Broadcasting Digital and Standards Authority (NBDSA).

The complete complaint can be read here:



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