A complaint filed against ‘AajTak’ news channel alleging that it made ‘distasteful, disparaging and insensitive’ remarks on the Indian army amid the Chinese incursions at India border in June 2020 is closed by the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA).
No violation of the Programme Code or Journalistic norms, as alleged by the Complainant, film producer Nilesh Navalakha, was done by the channel, the authority noted.
Navalakha in his complaint alleged that; during a discussion of India-China stand-off, news anchor Ms. Shweta Singh and her colleague Mr. Rohit Sardana attacked the sovereignty and integrity of India by blaming the army for Chinese intrusion.
Allegedly, they had said”if the People’s Liberation Army entered Indian territory and our soldiers were sleeping, then it’s on the Army and not on the government because the government is not on patrolling duty, the Army is.”
Represented by Advocates Amit Pai, Rajesh Inamdar and Shashwat Anand, said that the channel portrayed the entire incident to be a fault of the armed personnel.
AajTak had submitted that the Complainant had cherry-picked the anchors’ statements and a perusal of the video clip in its entirety will make it evident that they were only supporting the Armed Forces.
“The complainant has randomly picked up from the entire discussion is not a comment that is made by us against our Armed Forces. In fact, it was merely an analysis of the questions raised against our Armed Forces by certain politicians because they believe, by raising such questions they were indirectly questioning the capability and credibility of our Armed Forces which is not acceptable,” the channel explained.
It argued, “No organ or wing of the Government is immune from accountability and for functioning of a healthy democracy, it is important that the role of every organ in dealing with any crisis should be analyzed and deliberated upon. The right of inviting discussion and express opinion on an incident which has posed threat to national security cannot be curbed by any means.”
The authority headed by Justice AK Sikri, former judge of the Supreme Court, said;
“NBSA agreed with the observations made by the broadcaster that instead of seeing the programme in its entirety, the complainant has chosen to complain about certain questions being asked by the anchor. NBSA found that the allegation that the anchor instead of questioning the government in power chose to put the blame on the army was not correct. On the contrary, NBSA found that the anchor in her response has requested that there is a need to put a full stop to this manner of discourse, which was creating a war-like situation between the two countries and this was being reported by the media both domestically and internationally.”