On 16th June 2021,The National Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) issued orders against two Kannada news channels, Suvarna News and News18 Kannada and one English news channel,Times Now, based on the complaints filed by the Campaign Against Hate Speech (CAHS) last year.
On Tuesday 24 June, News 18 Kannada issued an on-air apology for their coverage of Tablighi Jamaat in 2020.
News18 Kannada has been fined Rs.One lakh which is to be paid to the News Broadcasters Association within seven days of the receipt of the order. They have been fined by the NBSA for “violating Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards, Principles of Self Regulation relating to impartiality and objectivity”. The programme didn’t present much verifications for the claims it made, and violated Guideline No 9, which relates to Racial and Religious Harmony. The NBSA has also ordered the channel to publicly apologise on its channel on June 23, 2021 prior to the 9 PM news. The apology must be presented both in text and in voice over. It has issued a text of the apology which has to be translated to Kannada and aired.
News 18 Kannada issued the apology in Kannada of the above written text.
@News18Kannada has aired its apology as directed by the NBSA! This is very welcome news for all of us, folks. We know now that we can #HoldMediaAccountable. All of us. Together. We can push back against hate speech and hateful media!#News18KannadaApology pic.twitter.com/8VAHaYHNjc
— Hate Speech Beda (@HateSpeechBeda) June 23, 2021
The channel has been asked to immediately take down videos of broadcasts on the channel’s website, Youtube page. The NBSA is to be informed that the same has been done, in writing sent within 7 days.
The orders were issued based on complaints filed by the group- Hate Speech Beda (Campaign Against Hate Speech) (CAHS) in 2020.
Campaign Against Hate Speech (CAHS), formed in February 2020, has been tracking and recording hate speech in the media which has been targeting marginalised communities. It has taken its findings to a number of regulatory bodies in the media such as the NBSA and Press Council of India. The organsation has made complaints against media publications and channels for their violation of media-related laws and guidelines, in their agendas of propagating hate towards marginalised communities.
On 16 June, NBSA issued orders penalising News18 Kannada, Suvarna News and Times Now for violating journalistic ethics and principles while covering news related to COVID-19 cluster in Nizamuddin Markaz, New Delhi, where a Tablighi Jamaat congregation had gathered.
News18 Kannada, which is owned by Reliance 18 channel.