Advanced Television

India: News channels fined

March 4, 2024

By Chris Forrester

The News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA), the India broadcasting regulator, has fined three prominent news channels alleged to have been carrying content “that promotes hatred and communal disharmony, deemed to be in violation of broadcasting standards and ethics guidelines.”

The channels are News18 India, Times Now Navbharat and Aaj Tak. They have been ordered to remove content and video elements that have been broadcast over the past two years.

News18 India faced a fine and removal order for three specific shows and had a fine imposed of Rs. 50,000 (€560) on the channel and mandated the removal of the offending videos.

However, Times Now Navbharat was fined the equivalent of €92,000. The regulator stated: “It appears that at the very beginning of the broadcast, the anchor has concluded that men from a certain community lured women from another community by hiding their religious identity and then committed violence or murders against such women and every such violence or murder committed on women of a certain community related to love jihad.”

Aaj Tak came under scrutiny for a programme which during a discussion on former President Barack Obama’s comments concerning India to be “inflammatory and violative of objectivity and neutrality standards”. A fine of Rs. 75,000 was levied on Aaj Tak, coupled with an order to either expunge the objectionable remarks from the video or remove it entirely.

The NBDSA said there had been a clear departure from journalistic principles in the broadcasts. The channels were found to have failed in presenting controversial issues with impartiality, objectivity and sensitivity, as mandated by broadcasting standards.

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