JNU videos: Was due process followed while filing complaint against news channels? CIC asks Delhi
An editor has sought to know the process followed while filing the criminal complaint, and the name of the official who granted the permission to register it.
The Central Information Commission on Wednesday directed the Delhi government to disclose if it followed the due process before filing a complaint against three news channels – Zee News, NewsX and India News – for allegedly airing doctored videos of student protests in Jawaharlal Nehru University in February 2016.
Information Commissioner Yashovardhan Azad issued the notice to the state government while hearing the plea of an editor of one of the channels. The journalist has sought to know the process the government followed while filing the criminal complaint, and the name of the person who granted the permission to register it.
The journalist moved the information panel after not receiving a satisfactory response from the government. Azad noted the editor has the right to know the basis of what incriminating material and fact-finding inquiry, and on whose directions the sub-divisional magistrate of Vasant Vihar approached the court of the chief metropolitan magistrate.
“If, as per the respondents, the appellant and others were not doing fair reporting of news, the respondents ought to have readily shared the information,” Azad said. “Stonewalling the information sought does not further the cause of transparency.”
The information commissioner asked the sub-divisional magistrate why he should not be penalised for not furnishing the information within 30 days.
The Aam Aadmi Party government, which filed the complaint on November 24, 2017, claimed that forensic reports had found that three of the seven video clips that had been aired were doctored. “The videos telecast by the accused channels were tampered, forged and/or of unverified authenticity with criminal intent,” the government had said in the complaint. “News channels, from their internal, community and statutory standards, have a duty to the state as well as the public, to exercise due diligence not only with regard to their statements but also the content displayed on their news channel...”
The protests were held on February 9, 2016, in protest against the execution of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.