Regulators

Delhi High Court stays the broadcast of Sudarshan News’ communal show

The apex court has asked the channel to reply before Sep 1.

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A major controversy erupted when Sudarshan News CMD & editor-in-chief Suresh Chavanke released a promo of his forthcoming episode UPSC Jihad of his television show Bindas Bol on Aug 25.

The promo clearly used disturbing and communal words and was themed on the exposé of Muslims who have infiltrated the highest working body in the government, our executive branch. The show was supposed to be aired on Aug 28 at 8 pm.

The promo, once released, immediately attracted outrage from journalists, police professionals, and IPS & IAS officers. IPS Association even issued a statement condemning the ‘communal and irresponsible piece of journalism’.

On Aug 28, the Delhi High Court stayed the proposed broadcast of the show after former and current students of Jamia Milia Islamia, filed a plea seeking a ban on the telecast. This came even as the Supreme Court on Friday declined to impose a pre-broadcast ban on the channel from airing the programme.

The plea alleged the show was an attempt to “defame, attack and incite hatred” against Jamia Milia Islamia, its alumni and the Muslim community at large. The HC stayed the broadcast until September 7.

The court also directed Sudarshan News to file a reply before September 1 on the notice issued by the ministry of information & broadcasting on the complaints it received against the show.

Justice Navin Chawla also issued a notice to the I&B ministry on the plea filed through advocate Shadan Farasat contending that the trailer of the show has “openly engaged” in hate speech.

Appearing for the I&B ministry, advocate Anurag Alhuwalia, the central government’s standing counsel, accepted the notice, following which the matter was posted for hearing on September 7.

The petition said the proposed broadcast along with the trailer violates the programme code set out under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, read with the Cable Television Networks Rules 1994.

“The proposed broadcast and trailer also constitute hate speech and criminal defamation and is an offense under Sections 153A (1), 153B(1), 295A and 499 of the Indian Penal Code,” the plea read.

After the order was passed, the show that was supposed to be telecast was not aired. Instead, Chavanke conducted another show where he accused Jamia Milia Islamia students and alumni of using the court to get the show stopped.

The Delhi High Court on Saturday further refused to lift its stay order. This came a day after the High Court stayed the broadcast of the show.

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