Eminent personalities, including film makers, theater artists, journalists and other activists have appealed to the Centre and Delhi government to take action against a Hindi news channel which labeled teachers as anti- national. The signatories including Naseeruddin, Shah, Sharmila Tagore and others demanded unconditional apology from the channel, in their joint statement.
“Singling out of individuals and creating a mass-frenzy against them using the medium of TV is a dangerous trend. [The channel] initiated this defamatory exercise in the case of the students of the JNU also, and these doctored videos have become the basis of arrest and harassment of Kanhaiya, Umar and Anirban. They have not yet apologised for this highly irresponsible act. Despite their bluff being called, they have persisted,” says the statement.
The channel had called Nivedita Menon who is a feminist political scientist, and Gauhar Raza- Urdu poet and film maker as “desh drohi.”
“Gauhar Raza, was portrayed as part of what it terms in derogatory and unethical language the “Afzal-loving poets’ gang. In both cases, decontextualized video clippings of these individuals’ appearances in public events have been aired and their names repeatedly flashed through evening bulletins.”
“That [the channel] can continue to flout all ethical codes of journalistic conduct, and conduct this relentless tirade against Nivedita Menon and Gauhar Raza is criminal and unacceptable,” the statement says.
“We call upon the Press Council of India and te Broadcast Association to take note of this criminality and initiate necessary action against the channel.”
The signers include the poet Ashok Vajpeyi, singer Madan Gopal, activist Harsh Mander, dozens of teachers across universities and states, journalists and lawyers.