The News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority on Tuesday directed Zee News to remove a video of one of its shows from all its platforms based on a complaint filed by activist Shehla Rashid.
The authority said that the show lacked objectivity, impartiality and had presented only “one side of the story”.
In November 2020, Rashid had filed a complaint with the NBDSA against the show after Zee News had interviewed her father.
During the interview, Rashid said that her father had made wild accusations against the activist, her sister and her mother. He had also suggested that Rashid was involved in instances of terror funding .
In her complaint to the NBDSA, Rashid said that the allegations levelled against her were not only defamatory in nature but also dangerous as the channel had aired visuals showing her address.
The activist said that the channel had failed to reach out to her for a response and that the anchor of the show himself had asserted that Rashid was involved in “anti-national activities”.
In response, Zee News claimed that Rashid had made false, frivolous, unsubstantiated and motivated allegations in her complaint against the channel.
The broadcaster maintained that it had fairly and objectively reported the serious allegations levelled by Rashid’s father and that show did not violate any guidelines. The channel insisted that it had objectively reported the complainant’s version as well.
In Tuesday’s order, the NBDSA issued a warning to Zee News saying that the broadcaster should exercise caution in airing such programmes in the future.
NBDSA Chairperson Justice (retired) AK Sikri observed that the channel aired visuals of Jawaharlal Nehru University without having any connection to the allegations made on-air by Rashid’s father.
“The programme appeared to give the impression that the complainant was involved in anti-national activities,” he said in the order.
The agency said that Zee News should be careful while making general accusatory statements in any of its broadcasts in future and ensure that such violations are not reported in the future.