'Could Affect Communal Harmony': News18 Fined Rs 50,000 Over Hijab Ban Debate

The NBDSA held that News18 anchor Aman Chopra had acted in "flagrant disrespect" and violated the Code of Ethics.

2 min read

The News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA) levied a fine of Rs 50,000 against television channel News18 India on Wednesday, 26 October, for its programming about Karnataka's hijab ban controversy that had made headlines across India several months ago.

In its order dated 21 October 2022, the NBDSA criticised the Network 18-owned news channel for associating panellists (who were in favour of students wearing hijab) with Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of Al Qaeda.

Chaired by Justice (Retd) AK Sikri, the NBDSA is a self regulatory body that is tasked with implementing the voluntary Codes of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards drafted by the News Broadcasters and Digital Association (NBDA) for its members.

"NBDSA observed that while having a debate as to whether wearing of Hijab be allowed in the schools or not, there was no occasion to blow up the debate by making it a communal issue," the order stated.

The order was based on a complaint filed by Indrajeet Ghorpade, a tech ethics professional tackling misinformation spread by news channels, over a news debate aired by News18 on 6 April 2022.


The independent body further held that News18 anchor Aman Chopra had acted in "flagrant disrespect" and violated the Code of Ethics as he had not only "failed to stop the other panellists from crossing the boundary but had given them a platform to express extreme views which could adversely affect the communal harmony in the country."

Besides the fine, the NBDSA also directed News18 to take down the video from all platforms within a week. It further added that in case of future violations, Aman Chopra would be required to appear before the body.

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