Media cannot be so free and independent that it spreads communal disharmony, the government today said in the Rajya Sabha while assuring that it would take action against a TV channel in Uttar Pradesh.
During the Zero Hour, Samajwadi Party leader Javed Ali Khan sought to know from the government why it has not banned a TV channel which was involved in creating communal disharmony in the Sambhal district of UP.
“There is one channel in India, which for last 12 days, is targetting peace, unity and communal harmony of Sambhal.
They are showing regular programmes with headlines like ‘Sambhal, a place of terror’, ‘Sambhal, a place of Jehadis’, ‘Muslims rule Sambhal’, and ‘there is rule of Ravan in Sambhal,” he said.
The channel has also announced it will visit the historic Jama Masjid at Sambhal on April 13 and offer ‘Jalaabhishek’ (a Hindu religious ceremony to purify a place with water). It is instigating Hindus to reach the place claiming there was a Hindu place of worship inside the mosque, he alleged.
Ali said the people get confused with the name of the channel and the language used by the anchor and its CMD was like that used “in the streets.” “This channel is trying to disturb communal harmony in Sambhal.”
“Why is the government keeping quiet when such channels are running these kinds of programmes? Why cannot the government ban such channels? Why cannot it conduct an enquiry into the issue,” Ali asked.
Sambhal, which in the past had a blot due to communal incidents, has seen no communal tension after 1978 because Hindus and Muslims decided not to get involved in such incidents and live in peace, the SP leader added.
As members of the Opposition associated with the issue, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said “It is an important matter.
They cannot spread communal disharmony and the government should have a watch on this.”
Responding to the members’ concern, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said “We cannot allow anyone to disturb peace and communal harmony.”
“Media’s independence is one thing but it cannot be so free that it spreads communal disharmony in various parts of the country. We have taken note of it and will take action,” Naqvi said.