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Saturday, November 28, 2020

Sudarshan TV’s ‘UPSC Jihad’ show ‘offensive’, likely to ‘promote communal attitudes’: Centre in SC affidavit

The ministry has not barred future episodes of the show, but issued guidelines to Sudarshan TV to prevent any programmme code violation.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: November 18, 2020 11:02:11 pm
sudarshan tv, sudarshan tv case, sudarshan tv programme, sc on sudarshan tv, suresh sudarshan tv, UPSC jihad, centre sudarshan tv guidelines, indian expressSudarshan TV is headed by Suresh Chavhanke. (File Photo)

Stating that Sudarshan TV’s programme ‘Bindas Bol — UPSC Jihad’ has the “likelihood of promoting communal attitudes”, the Centre has cautioned the Suresh Chavhanke-led channel to be “careful in future” and warned of strict penal action in case of any programme code violation.

In an affidavit before the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) said the episodes telecast were “not in good taste and offensive”.

“After taking into consideration the written and oral submissions of the channel, and the findings and recommendations of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC), the Ministry is of the opinion that while freedom of speech of expression is a Fundamental Right, the tone and tenor of the episodes telecast do indicate that the channel has through the various utterances and audio-visual content breached the Programme Code,” the MIB stated in its affidavit.

The ministry has not barred future episodes of the show, but issued guidelines to Sudarshan TV to prevent any programmme code violation, by ensuring, among others, that the show doesn’t offend against “good taste or decency”; doesn’t contain anything “false, defamatory, false and suggestive innuendoes or half truths”; and doesn’t attack “religions or communities”.

Explained: Why regulating Sudarshan TV’s programme is tricky

The decision of the ministry will be subject to the final verdict by the top court. A bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud will hear the matter on November 19, Live Law reported.

Earlier in the day, the Delhi High Court said the issues in the plea challenging the Centre’s approval for Sudarshan TV’s ‘Bindas Bol’ programme were already being looked into by the Supreme Court, and it was not going to examine the matter.

On August 28, the High Court had stayed the telecast of the programme, scheduled for the same evening. On August 29, the HC disposed of the plea with a direction to the ministry to take a decision on the prohibition of the proposed show. The High Court had also directed the channel and its editor to not broadcast the show till such time as the ministry makes its decision.

On September 15, the apex court had put on hold the telecast of the programme.

On October 26, the ministry told the apex court that it was ready with its order in relation to a show-cause notice issued to Sudarshan TV based on the recommendation of an inter-ministerial group, which had viewed all the episodes of the channel’s ‘Bindas Bol’ programme.

With PTI inputs

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