coronavirus update indiaas on : 25 September 2020 04:51 GMT+5:30
Supreme Court Pauses Sudarshan Channel's "UPSC Jihad" Show: "Disservice To Nation"
The sharp comments by the judges on TV channels are significant at a time some in the media have come under criticism over their no-limits, ethics-challenged coverage
Supreme Court Pauses Sudarshan Channel's "UPSC Jihad" Show: "Disservice Ti Nation"
New Delhi: On Tuesday the Top Court took a strong exception to the television program titled "Bindas Bol" aired by the news channel Sudarshan news relating to the Muslims entering civil services which the channel had likened to "infiltration" and "Jihad".
The three-judge bench,headed by Justice DY Chandrachud said that the claims made by the channel were "insidious" and it also cast aspersions on the credibility of the UPSC exams and was a great disservice to the nation.
“Here is one anchor who says one particular community is trying to infiltrate UPSC. Can anything be more insidious (than such claims)? Such allegations affect the stability of the country and also cast aspersions on the credibility of the UPSC exam,” justice Chandrachud remarked.
Also, he said that every single person who applies for the UPSC goes through the same selection process and the insinuation that one community is trying to infiltrate civil services does a great disservice to the nation.
“In the UPSC exam, all are subjected to the same tests, interviews, and are assessed by the same persons. But the insinuation is that one community is trying to infiltrate the UPSC. What you are doing does not do credit to our democratic system. Your client is doing a great disservice to the nation. We are a melting pot of cultures,” Chandrachud told senior counsel Shyam Divan, who was appearing on behalf of Sudarshan news.
Meanwhile, the Sudarshan news submitted that the programme raises an issue concerning national security and it is the public interest to bring out the story.
“The programme is in adherence to program code,” senior counsel Shyam Divan on behalf of Sudarshan news maintained.
Mr. Divan also submitted that he was willing to supply copies of all episodes of the programme to the court so that the bench can decide whether or not the programme is in violation of the law.
The court was hearing a plea by advocate Firoz Iqual Khan who claimed that the programme contains derogatory statements about the Muslim community and was divisive in nature.
“Certain channels mute panelists when they express views which go against the anchor’s views. This is unfair. No freedom is absolute, not even journalistic freedom,” Justice Joseph said.
The Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that freedom of the journalist is supreme and any regulation of the same would need extensive debates.
We are not on social media today. We cannot choose not to regulate one thing because we cannot regulate all," replied Justice Chandrachud.
"I am talking about electronic media and print media. Justice Joseph's concerns must be addressed by giving respect to journalistic freedom. There are a large number of web portals whose ownership is different than what they show," said Mr. Mehta.
"There is no separate freedom for journalists like in the US. We need journalists who are fair in their debates," the judge said.
Justice Chandrachud added: "When journalists operate, they need to work around the right to fair comment. See in criminal investigations, the media often focuses only on one part of the investigation.