The Delhi High Court on Friday set aside the President Ram Nath Kovind’s order disqualifying 20 AAP MLAs in office of profit case. Kovind in January had come under immense criticism for approving the Election Commission’s recommendations even on a Sunday, not a day for issuing an official order unless it’s critical to national interests.
AAP MLAs had approached the Delhi High Court against the Presidential order. The High Court termed the EC’s recommendations against the principles of natural justice since it hadn’t provided the affected MLAs adequate opportunity to present their case. The court directed the EC to hear their case all over again.
However, from the politicians to TV channels, many were quick to falsely report the High Court’s order. Prominent among them were Aaj Tak and Republic TV. Also, joining them were rebel AAP leader Kapil Mishra, BJP Minister Vijay Goel and Congress leader Ajay Maken, who all tweeted gleefully how the High Court had disqualified the 20 AAP MLAs.
Seconds later it emerged that the High Court had set aside the Presidential order providing big relief to 20 AAP MLAs.
Aaj Tak in particular broadcast false breaking news and even flaunted that the channel was the first to break the news of the disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs. Channel’s anchor Anjana Om Kashyap was also joined by two guests including a journalist, who went on to conclude how the development was a big blow adding that it was a setback to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The journalist, Alok Mehta, even went on to comment how Kejriwal’s decision had made the people of Delhi suffer.
The error of comedy did not stop here. Kashyap then went to her colleague Nishant Chaturvedi, who was standing outside the High Court. Chaturvedi concluded that this was the second crisis after the ‘Punjab crisis’ caused by Kejriwal’s apology to Akali leader Bikram Majithia.
4 minutes 15 seconds into the broadcast, Kashyap realised that her channel was way off the mark in terms of accuracy of the news. A visibly embarrassed Kashyap announced that ‘In reality, the news has performed a complete U-Turn.’
She went on to add, “Aam Aadmi Party MLAs have received a big relief. The news originally broadcast by us earlier has been proven wrong. We are sorry.” But the journalist had saved the best for the last. She said, “Actually, the news changed as it travelled outside from inside the court.
The video of the false broadcast has gone viral on social media platforms with users expressing their outrage against the channel.
अच्छा कुछ एंकर की हंसी गायब हो गयी । #20MLAs
— Vikas Yogi (@vikaskyogi) March 23, 2018
Madam todha Aram se tweet Kia kro. I know bht gussa hai kilas hai andr hi andr. ???? pic.twitter.com/f553S1A5XT
— Abhinav goel (@abhinavgoel1994) March 23, 2018
बहुत दुख हुवा मेडम देश आपके दुख में आपके साथ नही है।मातम मानये।
— RishiSaini सेवादल INC (@Rishi_INC) March 23, 2018
Getting a breaking news wrong is a professional hazard every journalist and media outlet has had to deal with at some point. However, it’s the learning from such episodes that matter the most. Hope Aaj Tak and Republic TV employ extra caution in future and desist from the idea of being in the competition to be the first to break the news.