The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights – the apex body responsible for the laws and policies of the child rights in the country, has written to the Economic Offences Wing to initiate an action against controversial news channel NDTV over allegations of fraudulently using the cause of children to illegally raise money for its own benefit.
In a letter written to the Joint Commissioner of Police -EOW of the Delhi Police, the NCPCR has asked to investigate a complaint against NDTV for organising an alleged fund riser purported to be for the kids by using a foundation’s name that works with Government of India. In its letter, NCPCR said that they received a complaint against NDTV alleging that the controversial news outlet had started a fundraiser in partnership with the UNICEF to help kids affected by the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.
The complainant had stated that NDTV had claimed these funds were being raised for the Childline India Foundation – a foundation that works with Ministry of Women and Child Development. Childline India Foundation is a nodal agency under the Ministry that operates a telephone helpline called ‘Childline 1098’, for children in distress.
However, neither the foundation nor the Ministry is even aware of the fundraising campaign that was organised in its name by NDTV.
In his letter to NCPCR, the complainant has alleged that the purported fundraiser initiated by NDTV was nothing but a fraudulent way to use cause of kids to illegally raise money for its own benefit.
NCPCR asks Economic Offence Wing to take action against NDTV
Forwarding the complaint to the EOW, the NCPCR has now written a letter seeking action against NDTV to look into the serious allegations against NDTV for raising this money and utilising this money received in this fundraiser. The NCPCR has also said that it has deemed it appropriate to take action NDTV under Section 13(1)(j) of the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005.
“Keeping in view of the serious allegations made against NDTV for fraudulently using the cause of children and illegally raising money for its own benefit, the Commission has deemed it appropriate to take cognisance under Section 13(1)(j) CPCR Act, 2005 upon this complaint,” read the NCPCR letter to EOW seeking action against NDTV.
The letter added, “Therefore, it requested that the serious allegation made in this complaint may be looked into an investigation into the intentions of NDTV for raising this money and utilisation of this money received in this fundraiser may be initiated under appropriate provisions of law”.
NDTV-UNICEF Reimagine Telethon – a bogus fundraiser
In November 2020, the controversial media house NDTV – whose promoters are accused in money laundering and tax fraud cases, had launched an alleged fundraising initiative ‘NDTV-UNICEF Reimagine Telethon’ to aid children during the COVID-19 crisis.
According to NDTV, it had collaborated with UNICEF to start a fundraiser for children. The main aim of ‘Reimagine’ special telethon is to help the most vulnerable children affected by the COVID-19 crisis, claimed NDTV on the launch of the purported fundraiser.
“Children are the forgotten victims of the pandemic. COVID has severely affected not just children’s health but has caused many of them to drop out of school…With lockdowns being relaxed, things will improve but will not get back to normal for a very long time – during which time lives, educations and futures will be lost,” said NDTV during the launch.
During the launch, the NDTV had claimed that without immediate funding and key lifesaving interventions like health care, nutrition, and immunization, an additional 1,600 children could die in India every day over the next six months. Seeking funds in the name of helping children, NDTV had asked for funds claiming that they would protect the most vulnerable children.
“Let’s reimagine our children’s future. Join NDTV and UNICEF’s special campaign, ‘Reimagine Our Children’s Future’,” claimed the NDTV.
UNICEF issues disclaimer on NDTV fundraising
As NDTV claimed that the fundraising was a collaboration with UNICEF, the global child-rights body had taken an exception against such claims made by NDTV. After NDTV used UNICEF’s name to receive money as aid to help children, the global organisation issued a statement saying that a few organizations and individuals were falsely using UNICEF’s name to raise funds and promotion without authorization.
“We denounce this unethical practice and disassociate from the organizations/individuals involved in this,” the UNICEF had denounced NDTVs’ fundraising campaign without naming the controversial far-left outlet.
However, NDTV is yet to respond to the ongoing allegations. The complaint registered at NCPCR and the subsequent letter to Economic Offence Wing against the alleged fundraising event of the NDTV may now lead to a detailed investigation against the news outlet and its purported fundraising campaign to illegal raise funds in the name of children.