SC restrains Sudarshan TV from telecasting additional episodes of ‘UPSC Jihad’

Satya Prakash

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 15

The Supreme Court on Tuesday restrained Sudarshan TV from telecasting additional episodes of its controversial programme ‘UPSC Jihad’ that alleged Muslims had been “infiltrating” civil providers in a deliberate method.

“Episodes broadcast till now show nature and objective of the program…Pending further orders of this court Sudarshan News stands injuncted from making any more broadcasts on this subject in any other name too,” a Bench led by Justice DY Chandrachud stated.

“Edifice of a stable democratic society and observance of constitutional rights and duties are based on co-existence of communities. Any attempt to vilify a community must be viewed with disfavour,” it stated.

Earlier, the SC had refused to ban the present and had issued discover to the Centre and Sudarshan TV on a petition filed by Firoz Iqbal Khan who alleged that the content material of the programme would result in communal tensions in India.

On Tuesday, the Bench stated, “We are of the view that there is a change in circumstance.”

Senior advocate Anoop George Chaudhari identified on behalf of the petitioner that prima facie the programme violated legal guidelines and the Delhi High Court had already issued discover on the petition difficult the Information and Broadcasting Ministry’s choice to permit its telecast.

Chaudhari stated out of the 9 episodes, solely two had been telecast up to now.

“This is so insidious. Can this be tolerated in a free society?” the courtroom questioned.

The Bench—which additionally included Justice KM Joseph—stated it wished to nominate a committee of 5 distinguished residents who can give you sure requirements for the digital media.

“We don’t want anybody of politically divisive nature…we need members who are of commendable stature,” it added.

During the listening to, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta asserted, “Freedom of the journalist is supreme…It would be disastrous for any democracy to control the Press.”

Mehta, nevertheless, stated the considerations raised by the highest courtroom needed to be addressed.

The Bench identified that journalistic freedom was not absolute in India. “He (a Journalist) shares the same freedom as other citizens… We need journalists who are fair in their debates,” it stated.

Senior advocate Shyam Divan, representing Sudarshan TV, wished time to file reply to the petition.

At one stage, the Bench talked about transparency in funding of media shops.

“I run a YouTube channel. How can my funding be ascertained?” Mehta questioned.

Describing the programme as “rabid” and “insinuating”, the Bench identified that Rule 6 of the Programme Code stated cable TV channels can’t present something that focused a specific neighborhood.

“Your Lordships must have seen the programmes where “Hindu Terror” was highlighted. The query is to what extent can courts management the publication of content material,” Mehta submitted. 

The Bench stated the issue with digital media was TRP which was resulting in sensationalism. It underlined the necessity to have enforceable requirements to be adopted by the media.

Amid raging controversy over Sudarshan TV programme “UPSC Jihad”, a gaggle of former bureaucrats had on Monday moved the Supreme Court looking for a keep on the programme that alleged Muslims have “infiltrated” civil providers in a deliberate method.

‘Constitutional Conduct Group’, which included Amitabha Pande and 6 others, urged the courtroom to provide an authoritative ruling on hate speech.

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