Thursday, December 3, 2020

Activist producer-director files complaint against all news channels with NBSA over ‘media trial’ in Sushant Singh Rajput death case

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— Consider reading the article Activist producer-director files complaint against all news channels with NBSA over ‘media trial’ in Sushant Singh Rajput death case on OpIndia website —

A complaint has been submitted against several TV news channels with the National Broadcasting Standard Authority (NBSA) alleging conducting media trial and parallel investigation in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case. Activist and Producer-director Nilesh Navalakha had filed the complaint against all media channels including India Today, Times Now, Zee News, ABP News, News 18, News Nation, etc..

In the complaint filed before the NBSA, it was stated that the media channels ran campaigns like a #ArrestRhea and #RHEALOBBY with respect to the actress Rhea Chakraborty who is the prime accused in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case. It further states that the channels made publications concerning the character of the accused wherein the accused was called ‘manipulator’, ‘murderer’ and was accused of using the late actor’s money.

The complainant contended that pre-trial publicity by way of media trial was injurious to a fair trial. “Even before the accused is arrested and tried, the cacophony of media proclaims the accused to be guilty”, Navlakha said in his complaint.

The complaint alleges that all news channels have indulged in “sensationalised” and “scandalous” media trial in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case over the last 4 months. It says that some anchors have made serious all allegations against the accused, police and the state government without any proof.

Nilesh Navalakha’s complaint had led to NBSA action against news channels

Earlier, another complaint by the same Nilesh Navalakha along with several other activists had led to punitive actions against several news channels by NBSA. On October 23, the NBSA had passed an order against India Today Group’s Hindi language news channel AajTak to air an apology on live on October 27 at 8 PM for telecasting fake tweets relating to actor late Sushant Singh Rajput. The NBSA had earlier asked AajTak to pay a fine of Rs 1 lakh and to air an apology admitting on national television that it did not conduct the due diligence required prior to telecasting the tweets. The media network had telecast fake tweets attributing to late actor Sushant Singh Rajput and had passed off them as his last tweets. The NBSA had also asked Zee News and News Nation to air an apology for violating certain guidelines by sensationalising their reports on the late actor’s death. Complying with the NBSA orders, the media channels had aired apologies.

On October 29, the NBSA had summoned Zee News for selectively targeting the Muslim community through their show describing Jihad. It has asked Zee News to appear for a hearing on November 26 via video conferencing. The action was taken by the NBSA on a complaint filed by Congress supporter and activist Saket Gokhale.

Republic TV not bound to follow NBSA order

NBSA is not a statutory organisation, it is a self-regulatory organisation formed by News Broadcasters Association (NBA), an organisation of some national news channels. Republic TV, one of the channels named in the complaint, is not a member of NBA. Therefore, any order passed by NBSA will not be applicable for Republic TV, as it won’t be bound to follow such on order.

Republic TV is member of News Broadcasters Federation (NBF), a rival organisation with much more number of members compared to NBA. Against around one dozen members of NBA, NBF has over 80 channels as members, most of them regional channels from across the country. NBF has its own self-regulatory body like NBSA, named Professional News Broadcasting Standards Organisation (PNBSO). The PNBSO was formed in October this year.

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