The News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) pulled up CNN-IBN and IBN7 on basis of a complaint received against the news channels for airing a report wherein it alleged ‘Gandhi Trust flouting law’ and ‘rules bent to aid Gandhis’ in relation to land allotted to the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust (RGCT) for its proposed charitable eye hospital in Haryana’s Gurgaon district.
In order to solve the issue, the NBSA directed the broadcaster to run an apology at 9 pm for five consecutive days from December 24 to 28, 2012. The broadcaster has been issued a censure by the NBSA for willful violation of NBA code of ethics and broadcasting standards and norms of ethical journalism.
The broadcaster has also been asked to pay a fine of Rs 1 lakh within a week.
The first news report was broadcast on CNN-IBN and IBN7 channels on August 1, 2011 and a subsequent report was broadcast on various dates and time up to August 5, 2011 by both the channels. The grievance made in the complaint was that through these news reports, the channels had represented that the RGCT had flouted the law and that rules had been bent for the benefit of the Gandhis, who belong to a prominent political family of the country.
After a thorough consideration of the complaint filed by the RGCT, the response filed by the broadcaster by way of its various communications and the documents filed by the RGCT, and on consideration of rival submissions made by both parties, the NBSA held that the broadcasts carried on the channels were “clearly biased, tendentious and factually incorrect on various grounds”.
“The reportage also misrepresented proceedings in several writ petitions pending before the Punjab & Haryana High Court. The reportage is an example of sensationalisation with the purpose of promoting and improving the image of the channels, which is unethical journalism,” the NBSA further held.