The Delhi High Court on Friday directed TV channel Zee News, journalist Sudhir Chaudhary and the News Broadcasters and Digital Standards Association to file their responses to a plea filed by activist Shehla Rashid about a programme, Bar and Bench reported.
Rashid had approached the court seeking an “unequivocal apology” from Zee News and Chaudhary for airing a programme in which her father had made some allegations against her. She also sought that an order, which the broadcasting regulator NBDSA had issued in March about the show, be modified to add the apology.
On March 31, the NBDSA had directed Zee News to remove a video of one of its shows from all its platforms in which the channel had interviewed Rashid’s father.
This was after the Rashid, in a complaint to the authority, had said that her father had made wild accusations against her, and her sister and mother. He had said that Rashid was involved with terror funding.
Rashid had said that the allegations levelled against her were not only defamatory in nature, but also dangerous as the channel had aired visuals that revealed 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 its defence, Zee News had maintained that it had fairly and objectively reported the serious allegations levelled by Rashid’s father and that the show did not violate any guidelines.
The NBDSA had then issued a warning to Zee News saying that the broadcaster should exercise caution in airing such programmes in the future and ensure that such violations are not reported in future.
In her plea before the High Court, Rashid said the videos of the broadcast have been widely viewed, Live Law reported.
“Thus, merely taking down the videos will unfortunately not affect the impact that the broadcast had on the public nor remotely restore the dignity and reputation of the petitioner [Rashid],” her plea to the court said.
At Friday’s hearing, Advocate Prasanna S, appearing for Rashid, argued that it was crucial for Zee News to run an apology for airing the programme, Bar and Bench reported.
“In today’s situation when these kinds of allegations are made, it is important that there is a sense of responsibility of media and people who make these allegations,” the counsel said.
The court then asked the counsel representing Zee News, whether the channel was willing to run an apology on its broadcast. The counsel, however, said it was not ready to do so.
The court then asked the parties to file their response within six weeks. The case will be heard next on February 23, 2023.