The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B Ministry), on Wednesday, cautioned television channel Sudarshan News on its controversial programme, ‘Bindas Bol’ but permitted the news channel to telecast the remainder of the episodes of the programme subject to suitable “modifications” and “moderations”.
The I&B Ministry passed the order after hearing the grievances against the controversial programme which had alleged a deliberate ploy on the part of the Muslim community to infiltrate civil services terming it, UPSC Jihad. The Ministry held that the show was “not in good taste” and has the “likelihood of promoting communal attitude.”
In an order passed on November 4 and placed on record before the Supreme Court on Wednesday, the Ministry said that though freedom of speech and expression is a fundamental right, “the tone and tenor of episodes telecast do indicate that the channel through the various utterances and audio-visual content breached the programme code.”
“The Ministry finds that they are not in good taste, offensive and has a likelihood of promoting communal attitudes,” the order said.
It also stated that after examining all facts and circumstances of the case “and balancing the fundamental rights of the broadcaster”, it has decided to “caution” the channel to “be careful in future.”
Thus, it decided against barring the channel from telecasting future episodes of the show but ruled that the channel “should review the content of the future episodes of the programme Bindaas Bol-UPSC Jihad” so that the audio-visual content is moderated and there is no breach of the programme code.
Sudarshan News had triggered an outrage after it aired a promo for the program which was to be broadcast on August 28.
In the promo, which was widely shared on social media platforms, the anchor and editor-in-chief of Sudarshan News, Suresh Chavhanke was seen questioning the sudden spike in the number of Muslim candidates clearing the IAS and IPS exams.
Chavhanke went on to ask about what the consequences would be if “Jihadis from Jamia (university)” would hold positions of authority and power like that of Collector and Secretary.
It was also alleged that Zakat Foundation, which helps Muslim students secure UPSC ranks, has been receiving funding from anti-India organisations abroad.
After Delhi High Court stayed the airing of the show, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting gave a nod to broadcast the same. Based on this, the channel aired four episodes before the Supreme Court intervened and stopped telecast of remaining episodes taking strong objection to the tone and tenor of the programme.
“Prima facie it does appear to the court that the object of the programme is to vilify the Muslim community by an insidious attempt to show they are involved in a conspiracy to infiltrate civil services… Any attempt to vilify a community must be viewed with disfavour by this court as a custodian of Constitutional values,” a Bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and KM Joseph had said.
The case is slated to be taken up for hearing by the Supreme Court tomorrow.