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“Don’t start the tradition of pre-censorship”- Sudarshan News editor’s letter to I&B ministry after clarification was sought on “UPSC Jihad” show before telecast

In a statement, the Sudarshan TV has stated that the ministry has refused to ban their special ‘Bindas Bol’ programme and has acknowledged that no programme can be banned before its broadcast

On 9th September, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting gave the nod to broadcast their programme named ‘Bindass Bol’ on the subject ‘UPSC-Jihad’ on Sudarshan News, after the broadcast was stayed by Delhi High Court. The court order came after some students of the of Jamia Millia Islamia University had filed a petition alleging that the programme could incite hatred against Muslims.

The Delhi High Court had issued the stay order without the presence of the channel’s representative, and the channel had received the stay order just 7 minutes before the scheduled broadcast on 28th August. Petitions against the show were also sent to the Information and Broadcasting ministry regarding the show, the ministry had sent a letter to the channel on 28th August asking for the clarification about the yet to be aired show.

Responding to the letter, the Chief Editor Suresh Chavhanke had sent a letter to the Ministry explaining the channel’s position. He underlined four crucial points, ranging from the limitations of IB Ministry, censorship and his firm resolve to stand by constitutional principles and to protect the country’s institutions. Here is what Suresh Chavhanke had written to the I&B ministry.

Suresh Chavhanke responds to IB Ministry

In his letter to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Suresh Chavhanke wrote:

“You have received lacs of fake complaints against us in last 15 years but none of them could prove us guilty… Those who file such frivolous complaints have a long history… Take strict action against them for wasting your time, our time and for trying to tarnish the image of a 15-year old reliable news media organisation (Sudarshan News) “

“You had asked us about our promos on social media but this does not fall in the domain of your Ministry. We don’t know what has been sent to you. We stand by our promo… There are no unconstitutional or objectionable words in that promo.”

“You had asked for a clarification on what we are about to broadcast on our channel on August 28 at 8 pm. Is there a precedent of such an explanation to the Ministry, prior to broadcasting? Let us know about any such precedence. As per our knowledge, we are within our right to broadcast our programme and action can only be taken on constitutional parameters only after the airing of the show. Please refrain from asking the script in advance.”

“We assure you that our show will not violate any law and is dedicated to the cause of protecting the institutions of the country. Please do not start the tradition of pre-censorship or let other institutions from doing such a thing. For the first time in the history of India, the broadcasting of a news show has been stopped by the Judiciary. We are grateful that the IB Ministry will protect our constitutional rights.”

“Under the leadership of Shri Narendra Modi, the government has shown a liberal, positive, and co-operative outlook towards the media. We are hopeful that the government will not indulge in censorship on the basis of fake complaints. Our motto is to make the country No.1 along with the news channel. We stand by this philosophy. Hoping for cooperation from the Ministry. Jai Hind “

Sudarshan News issues a statement

In a statement, the Sudarshan TV has stated that the ministry has refused to ban their special ‘Bindas Bol’ programme on so-called ‘UPSC Jihad’ and has acknowledged that no programme can be banned before its broadcast. It added that the ministry, citing the cable Act, 1994, stated that the law prohibits stay on a programme before its broadcast. It said that on the channel’s appeal against the stay order, the court had sought the MIB’s reply within 48 hours.

The channel cited the MIB order as a victory for freedom of speech and stated that certain radical elements fro Jamia Millia have a plan to infiltrate into the nation’s bureaucracy through the UPSC. It also added that the programme will reveal the names of the radical organisations involved, and the countries which are funding their plan. It said that they will also expose how Islamist organisations from all over India are helping the radical elements to achieve their goal.

Ban on the broadcast of ‘UPSC Jihad’

The broadcast of the programme was earlier stayed by an order of the Delhi High Court. The order was passed on the petition of some students of Jamia Millia Islamia University in which it was alleged that the programme could incite hatred against Muslims. The Chief Editor of Sudarshan News, Suresh Chavhanke, had earlier denied that having received the stay order of the High Court. He had also said that the proceedings in the court were conducted ex parte.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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