Synopsis: The petition stated that the complaint dated 05.05.2020 requesting action against Republic TV in relation to the guidelines for Uplinking and Downlinking was not considered by the Ministry till date.
Within 4 weeks, the Delhi High Court had asked the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to pass directions on a complaint submitted by Youth Congress Secretary Amrish Ranjan Pandey against Republic TV for breaching the Program Code and the Republic TV channels’ Uplinking and Downlinking Guidelines.
The petition, filed by advocate Joby P Varghese, stated that the complaint filed by the petitioner on 05.05.2020 seeking action against Republic TV with respect to the Uplinking and Downlinking Guidelines had not been considered by the Ministry till date.
In his petition, he stated that in the reply to his complaint, the self-regulatory body, the National Broadcasters Association, stated that they have no authority over Republic TV since the channel is not a member of it.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting was then instructed to consider his case and to issue relevant orders.
The complaint filed in May this year stated that on April 21, through its Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, Republic TV Bharat channel conducted a debate on the ‘Puchta Bharat’ show on the Palghar Mob Lynching incident that took place in Palghar, Maharashtra on the night of April 16, 2020, while the entire incident was given a communal colour without any justification.
It further said that the Republic TV Bharat tried to establish communal disharmony in the nation where the COVID-19 pandemic is being combated across the country. On several other days, both Republic TV Bharat and Republic TV broadcast related shows with a communal flavour. These kinds of shows were aired on various episodes promoting community hatred by the erring channels.
The complaint pointed out that these activities were in complete breach of the rules of the Programme Code as prescribed under the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994.
The complaint also referred to the advisory, issued on February 25, by the I&B ministry directing all private satellite TV channels to be particularly cautious with regard to any content that is likely to encourage or incite violence or that contains anything against the maintenance of law and order or that promotes anti-national attitudes, contains attack on religions or communities or visuals or words contemptuous of religious groups or which promote communal attitudes, contains anything defamatory, deliberate, false and suggestive innuendoes and half truths.