News18 India fined Rs 50,000 for show on hijab ban

The News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority on Wednesday imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on News18 India and directed the channel to take down a show by anchor Aman Chopra on Karnataka’s hijab ban. 

Chopra had acted in “flagrant disrespect” of the Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards, the authority held, and News18 India “would be well advised to guide and train its anchor on how to conduct debates on such sensitive issues”.

The order came on a complaint filed on April 10 by one Indrajeet Ghorpade. aired on April 6. Ghorpade alleged that Chopra referred to Muslim students as “hijabi gang” and “hijabwali gazwa gang” while making “false allegations that they had resorted to rioting”. 

Ghorpade also listed “generalised statements” made by panellists on the show, and said Chopra asked “rhetorical questions” to “imply that Muslim people were safe in India and that it was India which was in danger from the Muslim community”. 

After submissions from News18 India and a hearing in September, the NBDSA concluded that while it “did not have any issue with the subject of the debate”, the “problem lay with the narrative and the tilt that was given to the programme”.

It held that the broadcast was “violative of the principles relating to Impartiality, Neutrality, Fairness, and Good Taste and Decency, under the Specific Guidelines of Covering Reportage, apart from the Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards”. 

The broadcaster was accordingly fined Rs 50,000 and the authority warned that future violations would require Chopra to present himself before the NBDSA. News18 India was instructed to take down the broadcast from all platforms within seven days.

Just three weeks ago, Chopra hosted a show on News18 India where he celebrated the public caning of Muslim men by the Gujarat police. He said it was like playing “dandiya” and directed his crew to show the visuals with “full ambience”. Want to know who sponsored his show? .

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