The News Broadcast Standards Authority (NBSA) has directed Times Now to apologise to Rahul Gandhi fan-girl Sanjukta Basu for calling her ‘Hindu hater’ and not providing her with the opportunity to rebut the claim.
The Background of the case
Reportedly, Times Now had aired a show on April 6, 2018, where the channel had labelled her as ‘Hindu hater’, ‘Army hater’, ‘Rahul Gandhi’s troll army’ and ‘vile creature’. Sanjkuta Basu had claimed that her name and identity was ‘dragged’ into the controversy by Times Now in the most ‘derogatory, derisive, and defamatory manner’. The Congress loyalist further alleged that she was not provided with the opportunity to give her version of the story.
She claimed, “I believe that the said programmes were not in good faith as the very premise of the programmes were faulty and bereft of logic. For example, by their own admission, the programmes were in response to a certain Kutta Billi jibe made by BJP leader Amit Shah on April 6, 2018.”
The directive to the news channel comes 19 months after Basu had filed a complaint with the NBSA. She had moved the Supreme Court recently, citing ‘inherent weaknesses of the adjudicating process’ of NBSA. It was then that the organisation intervened and asked Times Now to air an apology.
NBSA directs Times Now to apologise on air
The NBSA has directed Times Now to telecast an apology message for name-calling Sanjukta Basu on-air in large font and audible voice-over on October 27.
“We regret that in the programmes aired on 6.4.2018 – ‘India [email protected] 8 pm and “The Newshour Debate’@ 9 pm on Times Now channel, we had not taken the version of the complainant Ms. Sanjukta Basu, thereby violating the principles relating to impartiality and objectivity and ensuring neutrality and fairness in reporting. We clarify that there was no intention to bring disrepute to Ms. Sanjukta Basu,” the message should read.
News Broadcast Standards Authority directs Times Now to telecast an apology on Oct 27, 9 pm for running a program in April 2018 calling author & social activist, Sanjukta Basu, a ‘Hindu Hater’ etc without seeking her version.@sanjukta #NBSA @TimesNow pic.twitter.com/knvhVHDStR— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) October 25, 2020
The channel has been asked to submit a CD, containing the telecast of the apology, within one week to the broadcasting authority. At the same time, Times Now have been directed to remove the ‘defamatory’ video links, on its website or YouTube within 7 days and confirm the same to NBSA.
Sanjukta Basu credits Rahul Gandhi for the ‘victory’
Sanjukta Basu has credited senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for her victory. She claimed that the ‘fight’ with Times Now started when she met Rahul Gandhi and hence that is how ‘historic’ it is.
This fight started when I met @RahulGandhi. That’s how historic this is 🙂.— Sanjukta Basu (@sanjukta) October 25, 2020
RG met me and a few other social media influencers. Times Now labelled me “Hindu hater” “troll army” to embarrass him. Far from embarrassment RG decided to follow me. Today Times Now have lost. We won.
She was thrilled that even after Times Now called her a ‘Hindu hater’, Rahul Gandhi, instead of being embarrassed about meeting her, had followed her back on Twitter.
Sanjukta Basu had claimed Pulwama was an inside job
Within hours of the ghastly Pulwama terror attack, Basu had taken to social media to wonder whether the Pakistan-sponsored attack on CRPF jawans was actually an ‘inside job’ by India. Without naming anyone, she had insinuated whether the attack was carried out on instructions of the BJP.
Rahul Gandhi follows Sanjukta Basu
Last year, within weeks of losing the 2019 general election, Rahul Gandhi had followed back a much elated Sanjukta Basu. Rahul Gandhi’s follow came just days after Sanjukta had announced on social media that only her and Rahul Gandhi’s voices ‘somewhat matter’ on the micro-blogging platform.Without naming anyone she had announced on Twitter how only two people “whose voices somewhat matter here” dared not to care about the Chandrayaan 2 launch. After all, why should a space technology advancement matter to the only two people whose voices ‘somewhat matter’ on Twitter.
Since nobody guessed, one is me, the other is @RahulGandhi. He expressed grief for Shiela Dixit, tweeted about Trump Modi but skipped Chandrayan. And I am so glad he did. It shows he is a man who works from his heart, and cannot pretend. Which is why he is such a misfit.— Sanjukta Basu (@sanjukta) July 23, 2019
Sanjukta had added how these two people are the only ones who are “pained and worried about the future of the nation.” She had added how one of these two people was herself and asked her followers to guess the other person.
A day later, when no one guessed the other person’s name, she announced that the only other person on Twitter ‘who works from his heart’ is the former Congress President. Sanjukta added how Rahul Gandhi tweeted about Sheila Dikshit’s passing and Trump’s statement on Kashmir, which was categorically denied by India, but not on Chandrayaan 2.
In fact, Rahul Gandhi’s resignation had even made her cry.
She was so heartbroken that she had bid goodbye to the nation she was born in. She, however, continues to live in India.