Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV on Sunday issued a rare apology after being accused of hurting the sentiments of Muslims with a piece of fake news, which was hugely provocative in nature. The extraordinary apology by Goswami’s channel came amidst Muslims groups also accusing Mukesh Ambani-owned CNN-News18 of committing blasphemy by casting aspersion on the three of the holiest sites for Muslims in the world.
Republic TV’s apology came after the All India Muslim Personal Board issued a scathing letter accusing the channel of falsely accusing the Jamaat-e-Islami India chief Maulana Jalaluddin Umri of being a terrorist. Taking exception to the channel’s ‘mischief,’ several Muslim groups including All India Muslim Personal Law Board wrote a letter to the channel condemning its act and demanding an immediate apology. The letter by the AIMPLB also condemned CNN-News18 for committing ‘blasphemy’ by linking three of the holiest sites for Muslims to Jaish chief Masood Azhar’s ‘terror factory.’
While posting its letter, the AIMPLB wrote, “We strongly condemn @republic channel for falsely accusing Ml Jalaluddin Umri, the vice president of @AIMPLB_Official, of being a terrorist. We also condemn @CNNnews18. It has committed blasphemy against Madjids (sic) in Mecca, Madina and Quds. Both channels must apologize.”
We strongly condemn @republic channel for falsely accusing Ml Jalaluddin Umri, the vice president of @AIMPLB_Official, of being a terrorist. We also condemn @CNNnews18. It has committed blasphemy against Madjids in Mecca, Madina and Quds. Both channels must apologize. pic.twitter.com/gQEED91utz
— All India Muslim Personal Law Board (@AIMPLB_Official) March 3, 2019
Realising the potential consequences of its fake reporting, Republic moved in with lightning speed and issued a rare apology for hurting the sentiments of Muslims. Its tweet read, “CORRIGENDUM & APOLOGY for taking a wrong image of Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umri carried on Republic TV at 4:03 PM. It was an inadvertent error, the video editor concerned carried the wrong image which was wrongly broadcast once & immediately corrected.”
In its subsequent tweet, the channel wrote, “Republic TV unconditionally apologises to Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umri for the same.”
Republic TV appears to have removed the controversial video from its website and has also updated its report on the government’s crackdown on Jamaat-e-Islami in Kashmir by clearly stating that the outfit in the valley had no relation with Jamaat-e-Islami India.
Elsewhere, CNN-News18, a channel owned by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Group is facing even more serious charges as the AIMPLB accused it of hurting the sentiments of Muslims across the world. In its broadcast on Saturday, the channel claimed to unearth the property details of Jaish chief Masood Azhar, the man behind the Pulwama terror attack. While flashing the headlines ‘JeM terror factory in Bahawalpur,’ the channel showed the photos of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, a mosque in Madina and Al-Aqsa implying that they were part of Azhar’s terror factory. These mosques are considered to be the three most holiest sites for Muslims around the world.
The letter by the AIMPLB termed the news flash by CNN-News18 as mischievous, deliberately designed to defame Islam and provoke Muslims. The channel has not yet apologised for its incredibly inflammatory broadcast targeting Muslims around the globe. In other words by running the images of three of the most sacred sites of Islam with a caption ‘JeM terror factor,’ the channel sought to link their role with terrorism.
The controversial CNN-News18 show was being broadcast by one Zaka Jacob with his guests comprising journalist Praveen Swami, former diplomat Prabhu Dyal and Major General Harsha Kakkar.