CJP writes to NBSA over Zee News’ deeply communal broadcast on “Zameen Jihad”

The channel has submitted its response and the hearing will commence once NBSA resumes functioning

zameen jihad

The channel allegedly borrowed the deeply communal term from social media and ran a complete show propagating various types of Jihad in the country categorising them as soft jihad and hard jihad.

In March, Zee News aired a programme hosted by Mr. Sudhir Chaudhary called “DNA: Jammu मेंज़मीन के ‘इस्लामीकरण’ का DNA टेस्ट” (DNA test of Islamic conversion of land in Jammu) available for public viewing on their YouTube channel at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R83Z_E6EM-0

CJP, as per protocol, first sent a complaint to Zee News and after having not received any response, approached the News Broadcasters Standards Authority (NBSA). Accordingly, the channel responded to the complaint to NBSA and CJP has also gone ahead and filed a rejoinder to this response.

What did Zee News broadcast?

In the program, the host, Mr. Sudhir Chaudhary, showed his viewers a Jihad diagram propagating various types of Jihad in the country categorising them as soft jihad and hard jihad. He then went to explain, “Hard Jihad includes Population Jihad, Love Jihad, Land Jihad, Education Jihad, Victim Jihad and Direct Jihad, while Soft Jihad includes Economic Jihad, History Jihad, Media Jihad, Movies and Songs Jihad and Secular Jihad.”

Apart from the extremely offensive and shockingly inflammatory content of this programme, what was especially disturbing was how the host, Mr. Chaudhary was encouraging people to tweet using #ZameenJihad a deeply communal hash tag, a brazenly provocative move that can also incite hate.

This show was heavily criticized by many well-known journalists as well as many regular netizens and also prompted a complaint by a citizen named Saket Gokhale to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

CJP’s complaint and Zee’s response 

In the complaint, CJP highlighted how the show violates the Code of Ethics and other guidelines set out by the NBSA such as ensuring neutrality, specific guidelines of impartiality and fairness, racial and religious harmony.

Zee News responded to this complaint saying that our assertions are baseless and frivolous. To this, CJP filed a rejoinder in response reiterating its earlier assertions as well as calling out the news channel on misreporting. CJP has further pointed out how Zee News has validated the use of the term “jihad” in a negative connotation and has clearly manipulated its meaning. Moreover, CJP has called out the channel’s anti-Muslim narrative, “the ‘perpetrated fears’ of ‘unbridled’ Muslim/Islamic growth is an oft and old hashed out narrative among supremacist and communal narrative in India, being ill-used to perpetrate hatred of and alienation from the Indian Muslim community.”

CJP further observes, “While explaining, each kind of jihad, the show labels regular and usual occurrences as “jihad” thus leaving no stone unturned in terming almost everything that identifies with Islam or the Muslim community as ‘jihad’ (with the aforementioned negative connotations of a kind of war with intent), thus further inciting hatred towards the community in general.”

The impact of such kind of reporting has also been called out, “In times when the country is walking the tight rope of communal harmony, such divisive and inciteful rhetoric, masked under false information, is nothing but malafide agenda of the broadcaster. At a time when hate-infilled rhetoric appears not even to invite politically powerful rebuke and institutional censure, leave alone punishment, the impact of such a programme can be further imagined.”

The NBSA has responded saying that the complaints and the responses will be considered by the Authority after lockdown has been lifted.

The complaint to NBSA may be read here.



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