The Congress has sought prompt action from the News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority against Zee News channel after one of its anchors, Rohit Ranjan, aired a doctored clip of party MP Rahul Gandhi on July 1, PTI reported.
In a letter dated July 4 to the News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority chairperson, Congress communication department head Pawan Khera described the broadcast by the channel and Ranjan as “illegal, unethical and malicious”.
In the video, Gandhi made a comment about the Students’ Federation of India for attacking his Wayanad office on June 24. Gandhi described the attackers as children and said he had no ill-will against them, the Congress said.
Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh said that the clip had been doctored to make it appear as if it was a comment about the killers of tailor Kanhaiya Lal in Udaipur.
These comments in their correct context referred to the vandalism of the Congress’ office at Wayanad and were in no way connected with the horrifying murder of Lal, Khera said in his letter.
He added that only Zee News and its anchor presented the distorted clip. No other news agency, channel or newspaper made the same mistake, he said.
It took several complaints for the channel to take down the impugned news broadcast, Khera said.
Khera said that a first information report was filed against Zee Hindustan, an arm of Zee Media Corporation, as it was a “repeat offender”.
On July 2, the channel withdrew the doctored video of Gandhi and issued an apology.
But Khera said by the time it issued an apology, the “damage had already been done”.
Khera added that FIRs have been registered in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi in connection with the doctored clip.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Thursday said it has not yet listed Rajan’s plea seeking protection from the multiple cases against him for hearing, Live Law reported.
On Wednesday, Ranjan’s lawyer, Siddharth Luthra, had pleaded for the matter to be heard urgently. However, the court had denounced Ranjan for not filing a petition before approaching it.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court said that the plea could be heard on Friday. The files of the case are with the chief justice of India, it added.
Ranjan was arrested by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Uttar Pradesh Police on Tuesday. High drama had unfolded outside his house as Congress-led Chhattisgarh Police also sought the journalist’s custody.
The Chhattisgarh Police alleged that they were obstructed by their Uttar Pradesh counterparts while they tried to arrest Ranjan.
Raipur Senior Superintendent of Police Prashant Agarwal on Wednesday said that the anchor is now absconding and the police are trying to trace him.