A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions to prevent the communalization of the Nizamuddin Markaz issue by certain sections of the print and electronic media posing a threat to the life and liberty of Muslims and infringing their fundamental rights under Article 21 of the Constitution.
The petition has been filed by Jamiat-Ulama-i –Hind highlighting the Delhi riots which took place in February 2020. While the State was recovering from the said riots and the relief work was ongoing, the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic led to declaration of a nationwide lockdown.
The petition filed through Advocate Ejaz Maqbool further states that certain sections of the media have reported the Nizamuddin incident with a communal favour and have used phrases such as “Corona Jihad, Corona Terrorism, Islamic Insurrection, Corona bombs etc” thus making it apparent that the unfortunate incident of the Tablighi Jamat was being used to demonize and blame the entire Muslim community.
Petition states that such reporting has triggered communal antagonism and religious hatred thus disturbing communal harmony in the country. That the state had failed to check communalization of content by media and by not taking action against such unsocial elements. The state had failed in its duty to give equal protection of law to all persons in India under Article 14 of the Constitution.
It is pointed out that the actions of certain sections of media are against the letter and spirit of the Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards issued by the News Broadcasters association which is the regulatory body for news channels. Also, such reporting is also in violation of Rule 6 of the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994 which prohibits any programme which contains attack on religious communities or visuals or words contemptuous of religious groups or which promote communal attitudes.
It seeks directions from court to the Central Government to stop the dissemination of fake news and take strict action against the sections of the media spreading bigotry and communal hatred in relation to the Nizamuddin Markaz issue. Also, seeks direction to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to identify and take strict action against sections of the media who are communalizing the issue against the letter and spirit, issued by it with the directions of the Supreme Court.
-India Legal Bureau