Delhi HC sends notice to Aaj Tak over ‘vicious campaign’ against Sikhs

Petitioners also name NBA, PCI, central government as respondents

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has asked Aaj Tak, the News Broadcasters Association of India (NBA), the Press Council of India and the central government to submit their responses to petitions filed against them alleging “vicious and concocted campaign by the news channel against Sikh community.” 

An Aaj Tak report had claimed to show farmers protesting the three farm laws desecrating the Uttar Pradesh tableau on Ram Janmabhoomi Temple, which was presented at the Republic Day parade.

Two PILs filed by Rajya Sabha member Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee president Manjit Singh GK have sought restraint against fake news and requested concerned authorities to set up accountability measures for the broadcasters. 

“Pursuant to the events on 26.01.2021, certain media houses (i.e. Aaj Tak) have unleashed an offensive and potentially fatal communal attack on the ‘Sikh’ community by continuous circulation and constant transmission of unverified videos through different platforms including their respective news channels, YouTube and other such digital and online platforms," the petitions read.

The petitioners alleged that such “tirade launched through the circulation of such malicious and vindictive videos" outrage the  dignity, modesty and goodwill of the Sikh community.

They further submitted, “The media and its transmission of events on a daily basis casts a large influence in shaping public opinion and directing their actions in a democracy.”

The petition stated that Aaj Tak has clearly violated the provisions of the Programme and Advertising Codes prescribed under the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994 and the code of ethics and broadcasting standards issued by the NBA.

The case has been adjourned to 26 February for hearing. 

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