Setback for Zee News as watchdog rejects appeal, asked to broadcast apology on fake news about Gauhar Raza

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The broadcasting watchdog in India, News Broadcasters Standards Authority (NBSA), has rejected the revision petition filed by Zee News for broadcasting a fake news on noted poet Gauhar Raza. The channel has been asked to pay Rs 1 lakh and directed to broadcast a full apology on 16 February at 9 PM both in English and Hindi.

Lawyer Vrinda Grover, who represented Raza, wrote on Facebook, “NBSA rules again in favour of Gauhar Raza, against Zee news hate agenda. Proud to have represented Gauhar Raza, Syeda Hameed, Sharmila Tagore, Ashok Vajpeyi and Shubha Mudgal before the NBSA.

“Congratulations to all the Petitioners and Advocates Ratna Appnender and Soutik Banerjee. And of course Shabnam Hashmi! NBSA rejects Zee News revision petition regarding Gauhar Raza Mushaira case. Zee has been asked to display apology on 16.2.2018 at 9 pm. And deposit Rs 1 lakh within 7 days. Zee was asked to do the same earlier but they had gone into an appeal. The appeal stands rejected.”

 

The channel, owned by BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Subhash Chandra, will have to broadcast the following apology in both English and Hindi: “Zee News regrets the taglines used and views expressed during the broadcast of the programme/news report ‘Afzal Premi Gang ka Mushaira’ from 9.3.2016 to 12.3.2016, reporting upon the poetry recital by Prof Gauhar Raza on 5.3.2016 at the annual Shankar-Shad (Indo-Pak) Mushaira at New Delhi. Zee News also regrets the description of Prof Gauhar Raza and the attendees/participants at the event as ‘Afzal Premi Gang’.”

In its September ruling, the NBSA had held that Zee’s programme on Raza was ‘intended to sensationalise the issue in a biased manner and facts were distorted and manipulated to masquerade as news.’

Poet Raza had written to the management of Zee News demanding an on-air apology and compensation worth Rs 1 crore.

This was after Zee News played a selected portion of Raza’s poetry recitation from a symposium, before declaring him an anti-national, who supported Afzal Guru.

This elicited angry reactions from eminent scholars, journalists, advocates and members of civil of society.

More than 200 of them had signed a joint statement asking the Arvind Kejriwal government of Delhi to punish the channel, which according to them, has been flouting ‘all ethical codes of journalistic conduct’ and putting ordinary citizen’s life at risk.

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