The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued a notice to media company Zee Entertainment Enterprises after the Tamil Nadu unit of Bharatiya Janata Party filed a complaint alleging that “obnoxious comments” had been made about Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a reality show, The News Minute reported on Tuesday.
The notice was issued after CTR Nirmal Kumar, the chief of BJP Tamil Nadu unit’s information technology and social media cell, filed a complaint against telecast of reality “Junior Super Star Season 4” that was aired on television channel Zee Tamil on January 15.
In the reality show episode aired on Saturday, two child contestants performed a skit dressed as a king and his minister, modelled on characters from a popular Tamil movie Imsai Arasan 23 am Pulikesi.
The contestants narrated a story of the king who tried to eradicate black money by demonetising currency notes, but failed in his efforts to do so. The child who played the king also portrayed him as travelling to various parts of the country, wearing different costumes, The News Minute reported.
In a letter to Zee Tamil, Kumar alleged that the performance had “made fun” of the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, which was announced by the prime minister on November 8, 2016.
“Scathing remarks were passed about demonetisation, his diplomatic travel to various countries, PM’s attire and disinvestment,” Kumar contended in the letter. “For a kid below the age of 10, it would have been impossible to even understand what these really mean. But, under the name of comedy, these topics were forced into the children.”
In its notice to the television channel, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said that it had received a complaint about the telecast and asked Zee Tamil “to provide comments on the complaint to this Ministry within a period of 7 days, failing which further action will be taken”.
However, ministry officials told The Indian Express that the notice was not a showcause notice, and it did not state that any provisions of the Cable TV Networks Act had been violated by the telecast.
Kumar told the newspaper that the management of Zee Entertainment Enterprises has assured him that the controversial portions of the show will be taken off from their digital platforms.
“There is no official communication from the channel but they told us that they will remove those portions and also run a scroll expressing regret when they run the same show next week,” he said.