New Delhi: The self-regulatory complaints redressal body of the News Broadcasters Association, News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA), has asked the Zee Media Corp. Ltd-owned Hindi news channel, Zee News, to pay a fine of Rs 1 lakh and apologize on air for airing a report titled AfzalPremi Gang kaMushaira the channel had called Urdu poet and scientist GauharRaza anti-national
The news report aired in March 2016 had a supporter of Afzal Guru, the 2001 Parliament attack convict who was hanged in 2013. The Zee Media Corp. Ltd-owned news channel had aired one of the poetry recitals of Raza interspersed with the footage of the controversial Jawaharlal Nehru University or JNU protests of February 2016.
Acting on two complaints—one filed by Raza himself in April 2016 and the other a joint complaint filed by actor Sharmila Tagore, singer ShubhaMudgal, poet Ashok Vajpeyi and writer SyedaHameed—justice R.V. Raveendran, chairperson of the body, in a detailed order dated 31st August, the channel has been asked to air the apology on 8th September and also remove the video of the programme if it is hosted on the website of Zee News or any other links.
“The broadcaster had failed to give an opportunity to Professor GauharRaza, who was being reported upon, to give his version/views; broadcasting a programme using the footage of JNU incidents with the poetry recital of Raza and giving title to the programme as ‘AfzalPremi Gang kaMushaira’ was highly inappropriate and derogatory as mere reference by Prof. GauharRaza while reciting poetry to ‘Kanhaiya’, ‘Nehru University’ and ‘RohitVemula’, could not be a ground to brand the poet, the organizers of Mushaira and the audience as AfzalPremi Gang”, the order said.
The order added that the show was intended “to sensationalize the issue in a biased manner and the facts were distorted and manipulated to masquerade as news.”
However, Zee News has denied any wrongdoing and violation of guidelines issued by NBSA during telecast of news report related to Mr. GauharRaza and contemplating the legal remedies.