Jamiat goes to Supreme Court against biased, communally charged reporting

Published : April 08, 2020 18:09 IST

Firefighters disinfect vehicles near Nizamuddin mosque in New Delhi, on April 2. Photo: Vijay Verma/PTI

The Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind has approached the Supreme Court alleging biased reporting, particularly the attempt to communalise the recent incident at Tablighi Jamaat. The petition, filed through the well-known advocate Ejaz Maqbool, states, “The present petition is necessitated on account of the communal colour being given to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic by certain sections of print, electronic and social media posing a threat to the life and liberty of Muslims, infringing their fundamental rights under Article 21 of the Constitution. The demonisation is also an infringement of the right to live with dignity which is also covered under Article 21 of the Constitution.”

The petition drew attention to communal headlines and taglines like “Corona Jehad” and bigoted statements to demonise the entire Muslim community, even implicitly blaming it for the spread of the virus in the country. The petition submitted that some, old unrelated videos were spread to promote ill will against the Muslim community. It submitted that even the BJP resident J.P. Nadda had cautioned party leaders to refrain from giving coronavirus a communal colour. The government, however, had failed in its duty to provide equal protection of the law to all citizens. The media, too, is guilty of using dog-whistle tactics to malign the Muslim community in contravention of the Cable Television Networks Rules 1994, which clearly prohibits any attack on any community or religion.

“Actions of certain sections of the media are also against the letter and spirit of the Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards issued by the News Broadcasters’ Association,” it contended.

If there is any delay in ordering a directive to stop communal reporting regarding the Markaz issue, it would only “promote ill-will, enmity and hatred towards the Muslim community in India”, it added.

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