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CAA: Zee TV journo resigns over channel’s misleading coverage

CAA: Zee TV journo resigns over channel’s misleading coverage
Nasir Azmi, ex-head of video content at Zee News.

Mumbai: Zee News editor-in-chief Sudhir Chaudhary reportedly twisted the Jamia Milia violence against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) on his show, the Daily News Analysis. Chaudhary told the viewers, “Protesting democratically is our right. But what is happening right now in this country is that under the garb of protest, protesters are propagating violence” He accused the students of burning vehicles, harassing the public, and ‘creating chaos’, as reported by the Newslaundry.

Nasir Azmi, former head of video content resigns from Zee News

After the police brutality at Jamia Millia Islamia on December 15, Zee broadcasted an ‘exclusive’ on how locals burned buses and the police retaliated only to ‘control’ them. Chaudhary’s show was cited by Nasir Azmi, former head of video content at Zee Media who described the show to be “one-sided reporting”

In a letter to Zee Group’s chairman, Subhash Chandra, Nasir resigned from his position, pointing to the conflict between the organization’s stance and its editorial decisions. Nasir told the media, “Sudhir has become very powerful now. Nothing happens without him knowing. It is him and a few others who control the organization right now.” 

Nasir’s letter to the editor-in-chief

In his letter to Chandra, Nasir wrote: “Now I feel Zee Media has failed its responsibilities of journalism, especially Zee News which I have given my golden time of life. Zee News failed…whether it was the matter of JNU and Kanhaiya Kumar, or the recent AMU and Jamia Millia incident. The channel has tried to mislead the nation and its people, especially on Jamia, where students were beaten brutally after protesting against CAA and the upcoming NRC. Therefore I have decided to discontinue my services on moral grounds, in the interest of the nation, and to save journalism.”

Nasir claimed Zee News chose not to cover the police violence against Jamia students. “We have a WhatsApp group for editors. I was constantly forwarding the brutalities by the Delhi police against students. You won’t believe it: there was not a single comment or reply. In the next edit meet, it was decided that sides will not be taken and we will only say that violence took place.” 

Zee Media’s conspiracy against Nasir

Interestingly, Zee Media sent Nasir a letter on December 4, saying his performance was “below average” and that he was being put on a “Performance Improvement Plan” for a month. Nasir alleged it was a consequence of his “constant questioning”. “I had raised my concerns regarding our team being understaffed,” he said. “Another matter I was targeted for was the contents I shared on Facebook. I have got calls from my employers asking me to not share such things.” 

Nasir insisted that he wasn’t an underperformer. “They shifted me to a Cluster 2-level team three months ago. Instead of handling one channel, I was in charge of about seven or eight regional channels. In three months, suddenly they have issues with my performance.” 

Vishwa Deepak resigned over misleading coverage of JNU protest

Earlier in 2016, Vishwa Deepak, a Zee News reporter, resigned from the channel stating that he should have taken this decision earlier, but if he doesn’t take it now, he won’t be able to forgive himself. Deepak accused the channel of ‘biased coverage’ of JNU protest against the sedition charges slapped on JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar.

Deepak, a producer at Zee News, was upset with the way the channel had played up the JNU issue. “Dear Zee News, after 1 year four months and four days, the time has come that I should part ways with you. I should have taken this decision earlier, but if I don’t do it now, I won’t be able to forgive myself,” Deepak said in his four-page resignation letter.

Zee’s coverage on students shouting “Pakistan zindabad” was mischievously edited to claim the students were shouting “anti-India” slogans. “The ‘Pakistan zindabad’ slogan was never said by them,” said Nasir recalling the 2016 JNU incident.

Nasir brought up a  recent video that did the rounds, claiming students at Aligarh Muslim University had shouted “Hinduon se azadi”. The students had actually shouted, “In dono se azadi”. “But a lot of media houses, including Zee, used the video. The problem here is that when these videos are analyzed in forensic labs and the truth comes out, media organizations like Zee never come out explaining that side.”


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