Justice Chandrachud while hearing Sudarshan News’ plea challenging the stay on the telecast its show on the alleged ‘UPSC Jihad’, acknowledged the consequences of the Supreme Court’s intervention over the content of news media. The court had earlier put a stay on the broadcast of the remaining episodes of Sudarshan News’ ‘UPSC Jihad’ show.
“An injunction order from us is like a nuclear missile and we know it,” Justice Chandrachud said, adding, “We know how an injunction order will be looked like. I am afraid that there will be injunctions galore and we don’t want that to be the law of land.”
Justice Chandrachud: An injunction order from us is like a nuclear missile and we know it. You, SG, tell us how will you bring in self regulation. You have to give them teeth.— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) September 18, 2020
SG: there is a case where a journalist was actually guiding the terrorist in Pathankot!
Solicitor General mentions a journalist ‘guiding’ terrorists in Pathankot
Justice Chadhrachud spoke about the ramifications of a court intervention on the news content, but he also stressed on the need of a competent and effective regulatory body to ensure self-regulation in the broadcast media. “You need to give them teeth”, he added.
At this point, the Solicitor General cited an instance when a journalist was actually found guiding terrorists in Pathankot.
SC objects to targeting a particular community
The sharp remarks came in the wake of the order that restrained Sudarshan TV from airing further episodes of its show ‘Bindas Bol’ on the alleged ‘UPSC Jihad’ which claimed to shed light on terror links of the Zakat Foundation which is funding the coaching of Civil Services aspirants.
However, Justices Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra noted that the pictorial representation of a Muslim having a beard, donning a green t-shirt, with flames in the background serves to alienate even the good members of the community and defended the injunction order lamenting that in absence of a potent regulatory mechanism, the courts had to step in and prevent the channel from broadcasting controversial content.
“If there was a viable method of regulation, we would not have to step out. Your undersecretary wrote saying program code should not be violated. @MIB_India didn’t check what happened after the broadcast and how it violated the program code,” Justice Chandrachud said.
Sudarshan TV defends its show ‘UPSC Jihad’ saying it wanted to highlight suspicious donations received by Zakat Foundation
Earlier today, senior advocate Shyam Divan, representing Sudarshan TV in the court, cited the affidavit by Editor-in-chief Suresh Chavhanke to demonstrate that the channel’s show on the alleged ‘UPSC Jihad’, whose broadcast had been temporarily halted by the top court, has grave implications on public interest and national security of the country.
The channel had urged the court to pass the judgment after all the episodes are aired on television. 4 episodes have been already broadcasted in the serialised show after which the Supreme Court placed a ban on its telecast. Divan contended that the ban on the airing of the show would infringe upon the rights and freedom of Editor-in-Chief Suresh Chavhanke.