Millennium Post

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The Delhi government’s decision to initiate action against at least four television news channels for allegedly airing doctored footage of slogans raised at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on February 9 is welcomed by this newspaper. Following the submission of a fact-finding report by a District Magistrate, the Delhi government will seek an examination of the complaint against the news channels under Section 200 of the Criminal Procedure Code. As part of its magisterial inquiry into the alleged raising of anti-national slogans on the university campus, the Delhi government had sent seven video clips for forensic testing to the Hyderabad-based Truth Labs. Out of the seven clips sent by the Delhi government, at least, three were tampered with and certain “words were inserted” in the audio, as per the report submitted to the Delhi government.  In fact, a former producer of one such news channel had accused his erstwhile employers of abetting a “riot-like” situation. The mass public hysteria built up was evidently down to the video clips that were aired with the mala fide intention of targeting certain students/citizens. Based on the Delhi government’s report, it is clear that TV channels ran the original video without verifying its authenticity. “No footage can run on a channel unless the veracity of the audio and video is proved,” according to the guidelines of the News Broadcast Standards Authority, the self-regulatory body for news channels. In a column for a website on current affairs, senior Aam Aadmi Party leader Ashutosh writes, “I headed a TV channel for eight years. I can say that this can’t be termed an innocent mistake, or be blamed on the lack of filters in the newsroom. That can happen once, but not seven times. In all, seven tapes were shown on different channels. There was never an attempt to verify these tapes. Every tape was portrayed as “solid” proof by these channels and used to test the “patriotism”of all and sundry. Every bit of footage was used to cast aspersions on Kanhaiya. He was openly called a “traitor” and “anti-national”, and anybody who raised a valid question was bulldozed by the hysteria of nationalism by TV anchors. It was this TV hysteria which provoked violence at the Patiala House court complex against media personnel and others; and also outside.” Suffice to say, he reiterates the point that these channels ran these clips with the mala fide intention of hurting innocent students. They must now be taken to task.
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