Delhi HC directs I&B Ministry to act on Youth Congress leader’s complaint against Republic TV within 4 weeks

The petition stated that the complaint dated 05.05.2020 seeking action against Republic TV in terms of Uplinking and Downlinking guidelines has not been considered till date by the Ministry

Delhi HC directs I&B Ministry to act on Youth Congress leader’s complaint against Republic TV within 4 weeks
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The Delhi High Court has directed Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to pass orders within 4 weeks on a complaint filed by Youth Congress Secretary Amrish Ranjan Pandey against Republic TV for violation of Programme Code and Uplinking and Downlinking guidelines by Republic TV channels.

The petition, filed through advocate Joby P Varghese, stated that the complaint dated 05.05.2020 filed by the Petitioner seeking action against Republic TV in terms of Uplinking and Downlinking guidelines has not been considered till date by the Ministry.

In his petition, he has stated that that the self regulatory body, National Broadcasters Association, in their reply to his complaint has stated that they have no jurisdiction over Republic TV as the channel is not its member.

Hence a direction was sought to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to consider his complaint and pass appropriate orders therein.

The complaint filed in May this year stated that, “On April 21, 2020, Republic TV Bharat channel through its Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami conducted a debate in the ‘Puchta Bharat’ show on the Palghar Mob Lynching incident that took place on the night of April16, 2020 at Palghar, Maharashtra while the entire incident was given a communal colour without any basis.”

It further said that “the Republic TV Bharat has sought to create communal disharmony in the country when the entire Country is fighting together COVID-19 pandemic. Both Republic TV Bharat and Republic TV aired similar shows with communal flavor on several other days. These kinds of shows promoting communal attitude were aired on multiple occasions by the erring channels.”

The complaint reminded that these shows were in complete violation with the Programme Code Rules as prescribed under the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994.

The complaint also referred to the I&B ministry’s advisory issued on February 25, 2020 directing all private satellite TV channels to be particularly cautious with regard to any content which is likely to encourage or incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order or which promotes anti-national attitude, contains attack on religions or communities or visuals or words contemptuous of religious groups or which promote communal attitudes, contains anything defamatory, deliberate, false and suggestive innuendoes and half truths.

It pointed out that despite violations being writ evident till date, no action whatsoever in terms of Clause 8 of the Uplinking & Downlinking Guidelines or Cable Television Network Regulation Act, 1995 has been taken against Republic TV Channels and Arnab Goswami by the I&B Ministry.

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