The Delhi High Court on Friday issued notice to broadcaster Zee News and Consulting Editor of Aaj Tak, Sudhir Chaudhary, over a petition filed by Human Rights activist Shehla Rashid, demanding apology from them for calling her anti-national.
The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Yashwant Varma gave the respondents six-weeks time to file their reply and fixed February 23, 2023 as the next date of hearing.
Rashid had alleged that Zee News had aired an interview with her estranged father, Abdul Rashid Shora on November 30, 2020, during which, allegations were levelled against her, calling her ‘anti-national’ and being involved in ‘terror funding’.
Taking cognisance of the programme, the News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA) had passed an order in April, 2022, directing Zee to take down the programme in question from all its platforms.
Shehla sought modification in this order, which had directed the broadcaster to remove the episode, observing that it lacked objectivity, impartiality and presented only one side of the story.
She demanded both the news channel and the anchor to broadcast an ‘unequivocal apology’ at the prime time, so as to mitigate the damage and prejudice caused to her dignity.
The Counsel representing the NBDSA apprised the court that the programme in question has been taken down and all related links have also been removed by Zee from all its platforms.
Appearing for Rashid, Advocate Prasanna S argued that the media should exercise a sense of responsibility, while levelling allegations against people.
As per the Advocate, a restraint order dated November 17, 2020 was pending against Shehla’s father in an ongoing case of domestic violence against the petitioner and her family (mother and sister).
He said this amounted to blatant violation of norms and code of ethics expected to be adhered to by the media.
The petitioner added that the videos of the broadcast have been viewed by several people and till date, has received more than 3800 reactions and has been shared by more than 500 people.
Merely taking down the videos will unfortunately not affect the impact that the broadcast had on the public, nor remotely restore the dignity and reputation of the petitioner, which was damaged by the broadcast, the lawyer concluded.