Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) has filed a complaint with the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) in connection with a communally inflammatory promotional video for a show on the presence of minorities in public service. This complaint is against Sudarshan News, a television news channel, for a trailer of the show alleging ‘UPSC Jihad’ that was broadcast not only on the channel but also uploaded to its various social media profiles.
The trailer that talks about the show that was to be broadcast on August 28, 2020. In it the channel’s Editor-in-Chief Suresh Chavhanke says, “How has there been a sudden rise in the number of Muslims in IAS and IPS? What is the secret behind scoring high marks in such a difficult exam? If Jihadis of Jamia become your Collectors and Chief Secretaries, what will happen then? The big reveal on the Executive being infiltrated.”
The topic of the show which was originally scheduled to be aired on August 28, at 8 P.M, was Naukarshahi me Muslamano ki Ghuspaith ke shadyatra ka bada khulasa (The conspiracy behind Muslim infiltration in UPSC – The Big Reveal). The broadcast of the show itself had been stayed, but the promotional trailer was telecast and also shared on social media where it is still visible.
The CJP complaint brings to the NBSA’s notice that Chavhanke is known to have published such derogatory and venomous comments targeting the religious minorities in the past. He has also been previously arrested by the Lucknow police for inciting communal hatred. Among the many criminal charges him, also include charges of rape, attempt to murder and fraud, as per FIR filed by a former employee of Sudarshan news channel, in 2016.
The complaint further brings before the NBSA the many criticisms faced by the news channel on account of the promotional video of the show. More than 1,700 citizens — including prominent journalists, film directors, lawyers and civil society members — have written to seven chief ministers, demanding that an FIR be registered against Chavhanke for spreading ‘hate speech’. Further, even Jamia Teachers’ Association has urged the university administration to file a criminal defamation suit against Chavhanke for making offensive remarks after brilliant performances of Muslim aspirants in the recent examination held by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
The show also stands to violate the code of ethics and standards on reportage as set out by NBSA from time to time such as acting in public interest, avoiding creating panic and distress, avoiding offensive language, avoiding religious stereotyping and so on. Further, it also amounts to various offences under the Indian Penal Code such as promoting enmity, causing disharmony, outraging religious feelings and so on, which have been mentioned in detail in the complaint.
The complaint states, “These discriminatory statements and unverified claims amount to generating an atmosphere that can lead to mass violence and targeting of the Muslim community. The Muslim community has been subjected to hate speech and vehement hate propaganda in the past few years and the TV news media has especially been complicit and an active participant in driving this narrative.”
The complaint may be read here.