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I&B ministry calls Sudarshan News’ “UPSC Jihad” program ‘not in good taste’ but allows to air remaining episodes with changes

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Sudarshan TV to broadcast remaining four episodes after moderating it in accordance with the Programme Code.

Ahead of hearing on Sudarshan News’ program “Bindas Bol – UPSC Jihad” case in Supreme Court, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has submitted an affidavit in the apex court calling the program “not in good taste.” The ministry has however allowed the News Channel to broadcast remaining four episodes but after moderating it in accordance with the Programme Code.

Sudarshan TV needs to be cautious in future

In its affidavit, the ministry has said that the news channel has to be cautious about its content in the future. “After examining all the facts and circumstances of the case and balancing the fundamental rights of the broadcaster, hereby “CAUTIONS” Sudarshan TV Channel Ltd. to be careful in the future. It is further directed that if any violation of the Programme Code is found in future, stricter penal action would be taken.”

The ministry has asked the channel to moderate the show in a way that there is no violation of the Programme Code. It should not contain an attack on religions or communities or visuals or words contemptuous of religious groups which promote communal attitudes. The ministry asked the channel to remove anything that is obscene, defamatory, false, and suggestive from the show.

Earlier, the ministry had sent the channel a notice over complaints of violation of the Programme Code under the Cable TV Network Regulation Act. The decision of the ministry is subject to the decision of Supreme Court which will hear the case today. A bench led by Justice DY Chandrachud will continue the hearing.

The case against Sudarshan TV over program “UPSC Jihad”

In September, Sudarshan TV broadcasted a few episodes of its program “Bindas Bol” where it alleged there are groups that are training Muslim youth to take up civil services. Calling it “UPSC Jihad” the channel showed many pieces of evidence to strengthen the claim. The program was seen as a threat by some Muslim organisations and a case against the channel was filed to restrict the channel from broadcasting remaining episodes.

During the hearing, Justice Chandrachud had said that those who do not like the show could switch off the TV. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting was asked to examine if there was a violation of the Programme Code. During the hearing, Sudarshan TV presented shows by news channels like NDTV where Hindus were shown in a bad light.

OpIndia’s intervention in the case

On 21st September, OpIndia, Indic Collective Trust and UpWord filed an intervention application in the Supreme Court to become a party in the case. “Given the conspectus of issues which have arisen for consideration before this Hon’ble Court and the manifest implications of the outcome on free speech advocates and in particular on organizations which disseminate content for public consumption, it is humbly submitted that the Applicants have the requisite locus to be arrayed as parties to the proceedings to put forth their position on the said issues,” their application read.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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