The Editor-in-Chief of Sudarshan News, Suresh Chavhanke, has filed an additional affidavit in the Supreme Court stating that he will strictly comply with all laws while airing the remaining episodes of the ‘Bindas Bol’ programme series on the subject of ‘UPSC Jihad’.
The affidavit further states that the Editor will abide and strictly comply by the programming code and directions of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
Referring to a broadcast by NDTV in 2008 of a programme anchored by Barkha Dutt titled ‘Hindu’ Terror: Myth or Fact?, Chavhanke stated that he was pained to see that a Hindu mystic was shown with a ‘Tilak’, ‘Chillam’ and a ‘Trishul’ (one of the most sacred symbols for Hindus and associated with the most revered deity of the Hindus, ‘Lord Shiva’) just adjacent to the programme caption i.e. ‘Hindu’ Terror: Myth or Fact.
Chavhanke went on to state that NDTV had also broadcast on 26.08.2010 a programme, again anchored by, Barkha Dutt titled “Is ‘Saffron Terror’ real?” In the said programme a Hindu cultural gathering was shown in saffron-coloured clothes.
Chavhanke response has come in response to the Supreme Court’s concerns over his show which in the prima facie opinion of the Court was “an insidious attempt to insinuate that the community is involved in a conspiracy to infiltrate the civil services”.
The Court is scheduled to consider his affidavit tomorrow.
The tarring of a community is where it goes from free speech to hatred, a three-judge bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and K M Joseph had said on September 18 while refusing to vacate the stay on the remaining five episodes of the show on “UPSC Jihad”.
The bench had asked Chavhanke to file an affidavit to explain how he would assuage its concerns over the broadcast of future episodes of his show so that it could consider lifting the stay order.
Referring to the contents and graphics of the show, Justice Chandrachud had said, “You are entitled to say that there is a foreign organisation which has dubious funding. But to brand every member of a community, that is a problem.”
Justice Chandrachud added that as a judge of the Constitutional Court he had a constitutional duty to protect human dignity, which was “as important as our duty to protect free speech”.
Justice Chandrachud suggested that for them to lift the stay on the broadcast of further episodes, Sudarshan News would have to come forward with an affidavit in good faith setting out the ways in which it would assuage these concerns, and ensure the remaining episodes do not cross the line of hate speech.