Image source: Bar and Bench

‘All about TRPs’ – Supreme Court pauses Sudarshan TV’s UPSC Jihad show

The Supreme Court has stopped the airing of Bindas Bol, which vilified Muslims by stating their entrance in UPSC exams jihad.
Suresh Chavhanke, host of Bindas Bol
Image source: The Print

The Supreme Court has stopped the airing of Bindas Bol, a show which talked about Muslims β€˜infiltrating’ government services through UPSC, and called it jihad.

Bindas Bol, a show on Sudarshan TV, is actually hosted by the channel’s news editor-in-chief, Suresh Chavhanke. The channel has often been in the spotlight for airing communal content. The channel recently released a promo trailer of the show in which the host talks about Muslims scoring well on the UPSC exams in order to β€˜infiltrate’ the government services. Earlier, the Delhi High Court did not stop it from airing because they apparently could not stop a show only on the basis of the trailer. However, they said that they would take action if needed after it aired.

Now, the Supreme took the firm step of stopping the show from airing completely. Justice DY Chandrachud along with Justices Indu Malhotra and KM Joseph heard the plea from advocate Firoz Iqbal Khan, claiming the programme was derogatory towards Muslims and divisive.

All about TRPs, vilifies Muslims – says Supreme Court on UPSC Jihad show

Justice Chandrachud
Image source: The Print

Justice Chandrachud pointed out that the show not only vilified Muslims but also cast a shadow on the UPSC exams. In fact, he called the anchor’s claim of Muslims infiltrating the UPSC β€˜insidious’. Furthermore, he stated every UPSC candidate goes through the same tests, interviews and assessments. Muslims hence do not have the upper hand in any manner.

Senior Advocate Shyam Divan for Sudarshan TV stated that he could give copies of the episode so the bench could watch to decide whether the programme really violated the law. Furthermore, he argued that the show adhered to the programme code. Moreover, he claimed the programme talked of matters affecting national security. Therefore, the public should know about it. However, Chandrachud caste aside such claims, essentially calling such actions undemocratic.

Your client is doing great disservice to the nation. We are a melting pot of cultures.

Justice Chandrachud

Journalism difficult to regulate

After that, Justice Joseph said that the media did not have absolute freedom to air what they wanted to. Despite the fact that they had a lot of power, it needed to be used responsibly. Instead, electronic media had often become only about TRPs. Debates often became one-sided as hosts muted speakers with differing opinions.

The problem with the electronic media is all about TRPs, leading to more and more sensationalism, damaging the reputation of people and masquerade as a form of right.

Meanwhile, solicitor general Tushar Mehta touched on the subject of journalism being tough to regulate. The bench acknowledge this and warned Sudarshan TV to be more careful in the future.

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