NEW DELHI: A media house has denied before the Delhi High Court the allegations of indulging in "offensive and potentially fatal" attack on the Sikh community by airing on its channel unverified videos regarding the Republic Day protest by farmers against new agri laws.
In an affidavit filed in the high court, it has claimed that "not even a single assertion was made in relation to the Sikh community".
The affidavit has been filed in response to one of two PILs which have alleged that the media house "concocted", "offensive and potentially fatal" attack on the Sikh community by circulating unverified videos regarding the Republic Day protest by farmers on its news platform.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has also filed its response to one of the two PILs, saying it is the responsibility of the channel owner to ensure that a programme telecast on TV does not violate the Programme Code prescribed under the Cable Television Networks (CTN) Rules.
"Whenever a violation of the Programme Code is brought to the notice of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, appropriate action is taken as per the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act," said the affidavit, filed through central government standing counsel Ajay Digpaul.
The ministry said it has also set up an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) to look into specific complaints regarding violation of the code.
The affidavits of the ministry and the media house have been filed in response to the plea moved by Rajya Sabha MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa claiming that the "vicious campaign directed against a particular community at a time when public sentiments are flared up could result in disastrous consequences, including endangering the lives, property and liberty of members of that community".
A similar plea was moved by Delhi resident Manjit Singh G K contending that "allegations as made out in the said videos are absolutely untrue, baseless and a concoction of phantom imagination which bears no nexus to facts, whatsoever".
Denying the allegations against it, the media house has claimed that the plea by Dhindsa was an attempt to "impose fetters or stifle the reporting of the press". It has also alleged that the petition was a "political gimmick to gain political mileage".
Referring to the CTN Act and Rules, the media house said, "There is a complete mechanism in relation to the regulation of the content of news broadcast in India. There is no further requirement of any additional legal structure or legislation in this regard."
It has also contended that the petitioner has not approached the appropriate body, News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA), with any grievance before coming to the court.