Post NBSA Rap, News18 Kannada Issues Apology for Tablighi Coverage

NBSA on 16 June had imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on News18 Kannada for violating journalistic ethics and principles.

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NBSA issued orders penalising News18 Kannada for their coverage related to COVID-19 cluster in New Delhi. Image used for representation. 

After being pulled up by the National Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA), News18 Kannada on Thursday, 24 June, issued an on-air apology for their coverage “targeting” members of Tablighi Jamaat in 2020.

On 16 June, NBSA issued orders penalising News18 Kannada, Suvarna News and Times Now for violating journalistic ethics and principles while covering news related to COVID-19 cluster in Nizamuddin Markaz, New Delhi, where a Tablighi Jamaat congregation had gathered.

The NBSA had directed the channel to air an apology, which had to be presented as a text and voice-over, on Wednesday, 23 June, prior to the 9 pm news. It issued a text of the apology, which had to be translated to Kannada and aired.

The orders were issued based on complaints filed by the Campaign Against Hate Speech (CAHS) in 2020.

CAHS, which was formed in February 2020 to track hateful media coverage, particularly targeting minority communities, had moved the NBSA against the channels for their “hateful coverage of the coronavirus pandemic in which they had targeted members of Tablighi Jamaat as well as the entire Muslim community”.

What Did the Order Say?

The NBSA had imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on News18 Kannada. The fine had to be paid to the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) within seven days of the receipt of the order for violating the, “code of ethics and broadcasting standards, principles of self regulation relating to impartiality and objectivity”.

NBSA has also asked the channels to remove video of the broadcasts, that target the Muslim community from the channel’s website, youtube and other links, immediately and inform the completion of such action in writing within seven days.

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