The News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority on Thursday ordered television news channels News18 India, Times Now Navbharat and Aaj Tak to take down videos of five shows for spreading hatred and communal disharmony.

The news regulatory body took action against the news channels based on complaints by activist Indrajeet Ghorpade.

In the case of News18 India, the News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 for three shows it broadcast in 2022. Two of these shows were hosted by Aman Chopra, and one by Amish Devgan.

Chopra and Devgan had said that the murder of Shraddha Walker by her live-in partner Aftab Poonawala in 2022 was connected to “love jihad”.

“Love jihad” is a Hindutva conspiracy theory that accuses Muslim men of trapping Hindu women in romantic relationships to convert them to Islam.

“NBDSA stated that the term ‘love jihad’ should not be used loosely and should be used with great introspection in future broadcasts as religious stereotyping can corrode the secular fabric of the country, cause irreparable harm to a community and create religious intolerance or disharmony,” the order said.

The news regulatory body also imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on Times Now Navbharat for its show on “love jihad”. The show was hosted by Himanshu Dixit and was found to have targeted Muslims, terming inter-faith relationships as “love jihad”.

“On a perusal of the impugned broadcast, it appears that at the very beginning of the broadcast, the anchor has concluded that men from a certain community lured women from another community by hiding their religious identity and then committed violence or murders against such women and every such violence or murder committed on women of a certain community related to love jihad,” the news regulatory body said.

The order also said that when some panelists expressed concerns about crimes such as Walkar’s murder being given a communal angle, Dixit shouted at them and did not allow them to express their views.

In its order against Aaj Tak, the news regulatory body directed the channel to remove the video of a show anchored by Sudhir Chaudhary on violence during the Hindu festival of Ram Navami in 2023, saying that he targeted the entire Muslim community due to the acts of certain miscreants.

“NBDSA observed that there would have been no problem with the broadcast if the broadcaster had confined its analysis to the incidents of communal violence,” the order said. “However, by broadcasting the following tickers “today Muslim areas, tomorrow Muslim country”, “today area, tomorrow district, and then country” and “have you heard of Sikh or Parsi area’ during the programme, a completely different colour had been given to the programme.”