NBSA Asks Times Now to Apologise, Pay Fine for Jasleen Kaur Story

An on-air apology must be issued on 22 March before the 9 pm show.

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Jasleen Kaur (right) shamed her abuser (left) on social media. (Photo: Facebook/ANI)

The News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) has asked Times Now to apologise and pay a fine for its reportage on the Jasleen Kaur case.

Background

Jasleen Kaur is a student of Delhi University who in 2015, alleged that Sarabjit Singh had verbally harassed her at a crossing in Delhi. She photographed the incident and took to Facebook to explain the eve-teasing resulting in the story spreading like wildfire across news channels including Times Now. The Delhi Police swiftly responded to Kaur’s allegations and arrested Sarabjit Singh within a day on charges of sexual harassment.

Kaur, an Aam Aadmi Party volunteer, was even backed by Delhi’s ruling party. Singh and his family denied all allegations, as news sources continued to question them. Sarabjit had also said that a simple altercation was being blown out of proportion for ‘political mileage’.

A few days later, a man claiming to be an eyewitness in the case said Kaur had fabricated the story.

NBSA Notice

A Livemint report explained that the authority headed by Justic RV Raveendran condemned the reportage, asking Times Now to apologise and also pay a hefty fine of Rs 50,000. The authority highlighted the method of chasing and interviewing the accused as an ‘aggressive, intimidating, and browbeating style, and the telecast of the interview with tag-lines treating the accused as guilty.’

Broadcasters cannot condemn as guilty persons accused of having committed a crime or offence when the matter is still under investigation or where the court is yet to decide upon the guilt or otherwise of the accused.
NBSA Order

Deadline

NBSA has asked the English news network to apologise on air before the 9 pm news bulletin on 22 March including a static text piece (on full screen, with large font size) with an audible voice over admitting its failure to comply with the Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards of the NBSA. In addition to this, the video must also be removed from the website.

The NBSA warned the broadcaster to be more careful while broadcasting programmes/news reports about matters pending trial/investigation.

Also read:
Indian Media’s Love for Naming and Shaming – The Jasleen Kaur Case
Molestation or Publicity Stunt: Jasleen Kaur Vs The Accused

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