The Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) wrote to the India Today Group objecting to “the tone, tenor and choice of words spoken” in a programme, aired on Aaj Tak on September 30, 2022, that featured themes of communal divide throughout its narrative and did not attempt to mask this in any way
According to the complaint, the program’s host, Sudhir Chaudhary, actively took part in the communal diatribe while manipulating the facts. The group has taken issue with the show’s verbal and visual cues, as well as its tone, tenor, and word choice. These are blatantly against the broadcasting and ethical rules established by the News Broadcasting Statutory Digital Authority (NBDSA).
CJI noted that the presenter opened the programme with a statement that sparked controversy among different communities: Muslim yuvaon ka garba ke pandolon mei jaane ka maksad akhir hai kya? (Why do Muslim young people visit garba pandals?)
In its letter, CJP said that the programme displays its bias towards Islam and its adherents by posing the issue of why Muslims would be interested in taking part in a Hindu event.
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CJP says that some of the show’s excerpts are mostly Chaudhary’s statements, which make his communal narrative visibly and obviously apparent and threaten to damage or possibly destroy the nation’s secular fabric.
The egregious comments made by Sudhir Chaudhary blatantly cross community boundaries, which is against journalistic ethics and self-regulatory norms, particularly the code established by the NBDSA.
CJP in its complaint says that particular inquiries by the host, such as Inn garba pandalo mei muslim ladke hi kyu jaa rahe hai? Muslim ladkiyan kyu nahi are utterly groundless and unjustified. Does the presenter even realise how many Muslim females are participating in these pandals and performing garba? Are these assertions stated on national television supported by any data? The host did not even make an effort to have a non-communal vibe on the broadcast, despite being the anchor of a news channel programme that is intended to have a neutral and impartial topic.
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This is not the first time that CJP has made complaints about Sudhir Chaudhary’s islamophobic and communal comments. In March 2020, Sudhir Chaudhary hosted a show on Zee News called “DNA: Jammu में ज़मीनके ‘इस्लामीकरण’ का DNA टेस्ट” (DNA test of Islamic conversion of land in Jammu). In the show, the host, Sudhir Chaudhary, showed his audience a Jihad diagram that showed different kinds of Jihad in the country and put them into two groups: soft jihad and hard jihad. First, CJP filed a complaint with the channel, and then the NBDSA took action against the same.
The complaint lodged against the Black and White programme cites many NBDSA (News Broadcasting Digital and Standards Authority) principles as well as its Code of Ethics as being broken by the broadcast and comments made in response to it. If the India Today Group does not provide a sufficient answer, CJP will be required to file a complaint with the NBDSA.