UPSC Jihad show offensive, promotes communal attitude: I&B Ministry

The Ministry is said to have acted upon the various complaints it received about the controversial UPSC Jihad show on Sudarshan TV

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has cautioned Sudarshan TV against the contents of its infamous ‘UPSC Jihad’ show and ordered that in case of any further violation stricter penal action would be taken. The Ministry has directed the channel to review the remaining episodes and moderate them so as to not violate the Programme Code, by which it is bound.

The MIB filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court about the outcome of the show cause notice issued to Sudarshan TV with regards to its ‘UPSC Jihad’ show. The Ministry stated that the proceedings culminated on November 4 and hence they have filed the outcome of the proceedings as ordered by the apex court on September 23.

The Ministry had taken cognisance of the several complaints received by it against the telecast of the show and after receiving a written statement from Sudarshan TV referred the matter to Inter Ministerial Committee (IMC) on September 11. The IMC considered the written submissions as well as gave opportunity for oral hearing to Sudarshan TV. The Ministry gave another opportunity to the channel to give its response, before acting upon the recommendations of the IMC.

During one of the oral hearings, the counsel for the channel had contended that the Programme Code under the Cable TV Network Rules, 1994 is not applicable to a TV news channel. The Ministry, however affirmed that every company permitted by the government to operate a TV channel is given a permission letter in which it is mentioned that the company shall abide by the programme and Advertising Code; further Suresh Chavhanke, the Editor-in-Chief of Sudarshan News had undertaken while seeking renewal of downlinking permission that he/his channel will abide by the Programme and Advertising Codes.

The Ministry examined the four episodes in which respect the show cause notice was issued in the first place. The Ministry was of the opinion that “the channel has gone about its exposition, including its comments on the selection process, examination system of Civil Services, portray one community and the UPSC in poor light and the channel could well have avoided utterances and videos which were not in good taste or decency.”

The Ministry also concurred with the findings of the IMC that the issue of alleged terror links of Zakat Foundation and alleged source of funding is a highly disputed matter of fact which require a full investigation of evidence to adjudicate the veracity, truthfulness or falsity of the claim made in the show. The Ministry gave its decision stating, “while freedom of speech and expression is a Fundamental right, the tone and tenor of the episodes telecast do indicate that the channel has through the various utterances and audio-visual content breached the Programme Code. The Ministry finds that they are not in good taste, offensive and has likelihood of promoting communal attitudes.”

The outcome of the proceedings was that the Ministry issued “caution” to Sudarshan TV and directed that if any further violation of Programme Code is found, stricter penal action would be taken. The Ministry directed Sudarshan TV to review the content of the rest of the episodes of “Binda Bol- UPSC Jihad” and suitably moderate it so that it does not violate the Programme Code and does not offend good taste or decency, does not encourage violence or is defamatory.

Finally, the order states that it is subject to the outcome of the judgement of the Supreme Court in the case. The case is set for hearing today, November 19, for hearing before a bench led by Justice DY Chandrachud. affidavit may be read here.


Centre to publish order against Sudarshan news complaints, informs SG
We are with Sudarshan News: Absurd slogans of NRIs in NY
Centre issues show cause notice to Sudarshan News; SC seeks report




Related Articles