NBDSA directs Zee News to take down show on Shehla Rashid for lack of objectivity

The activist expressing vindication over the order, also conveyed disappointment that the Authority has not directed the channel to issue a public apology and provide compensation.

The News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA) has passed a ruling that Zee News must take down video links to the channel’s star anchor Sudhir Chaudhary’s show on Activist Shehla Rashid, which the authority said lacked objectivity, impartiality, and had presented only ‘one side of the story’.

Rashid had filed a complaint against the 11 pm show that aired on November 30, 2020, in which Chaudhary interviewed Rashid’s estranged father Abdul Rashid Shora and he had made many allegations against her without providing any proof. “The anchor also made allegations that she was involved in ‘anti national activities’ and was ‘funding terror’,” her complaint to the authority said.

The NBDSA chairperson, Justice (retired) A.K. Sikri, observed that the visuals of the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus juxtaposed alongside Rashid’s father’s words were irrelevant to what he was saying.

MS Education Academy

The channel must be careful in the future to ensure that it does not portray such baseless, wide-ranging accusations to try and sway the audience, the order dated March 31 noted, according to LiveLaw.

“The Authority observed that such generalised statements are violative of the Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards and Guidelines relating to Impartiality and Objectivity in reporting. The broadcaster should be careful in future while making general accusatory statements in any of its broadcasts.”

The court order also said: “Further, not only had the broadcaster failed to approach the complainant for her version, prior to telecasting the impugned programme but by making only a fleeting reference to her denial of the allegations, the broadcaster had also failed to adequately present her version. In any case, the Authority noted that to broadcast the version of the complainant available in her social media posts was not sufficient compliance of the Guidelines.”

The activist took to Twitter and thanked Advocate S Prasanna for representing her in the case. She added that she was surprised to see that NBDSA had not directed Zee News to issue a public apology or any compensation.

“Quoting from the order, the NBDSA expressed “strong disapproval” with respect to the broadcast and cautioned

@ZeeNews from making such “general accusatory statements” in future. I’d like to thank Adv.

@prasanna_s who represented me.”

“However, it’s surprising that, despite finding merit in my grievances, the authority has stopped short of awarding a publicly aired apology or a compensation which would be fitting, esp. considering the fact that the broadcast is per se defamatory, as I wasn’t even contacted!” she said in a series of tweets.

Rashid also expressed discontentment over the state of independent institutions in the country.

“This is the state of independent institutions in India right now where, despite there being cause for action, the authorities shy away from recommending any action against hit-and-run agencies such as @ZeeNews @Sudhirchaudhary & Co. They destroy lives, careers and go scot-free

despite being found guilty! No consequences whatsoever. While this order is a vindication for me, it’s not nearly enough. The broadcast made wild allegations against me – being anti-national, raising some slogans that they only know, misappropriating funds & what not!” she remarked.

“While this order is a vindication for me, it’s not nearly enough. The broadcast made wild allegations against me – being anti-national, raising some slogans that they only know, misappropriating funds & what not!” she continued. “As an individual, I suffer the consequences of this every single day. I lose out on health and work opportunities because of this. Such news items show up on a Google search for any potential employer to see,” she also said.

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