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MIB hauls up Gujarati news channel GSTV

MUMBAI: The Ministry of information
& Broadcasting (MIB) has pulled up
Gujarati news channel GSTV for
“objectionable programme content
aimed at a leader holding an esteemed
GSTV is owned by promoters of
Gujarati daily Gujarat Samachar.
The ministry issued a show-cause
notice to the channel on 2 February
for a special programme it aired on 30
January, the 67th death anniversary
of Mahatma Gandhi, The Economic
Times reported. The show was called
‘Gandhi Hatya Koni Jawabdari’ (Who is
responsible for Gandhi’s death).
The half-hour special criticised
attempts by some fringe Hindu groups
to build a temple for Nathuram Godse.
Without mentioning any name, the
show emphasised that Gandhi’s
thoughts cannot be taken forward by
wearing expensive suits or by waving
brooms in the air.
The GSTV report compared the
lifestyle of Mahatma Gandhi and a
“leader”, without taking any name,
stating that “Gandhiji always lived a
simple life, whereas he wears a suit
worth Rs 9 lakh and moves in
expensive cars.”
MIB has said in its notice, “…the
channel says this leader initiated the
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, but does he
actually believe in Gandhian ideology
or is he just using his name to earn
“While the channel has every right to
question the conduct of a political
leader, the way it has criticised him in
the news item seems a deliberate
attempt to malign his reputation
which is repugnant of the esteemed
office he holds,” the notice further
“The channel questions an individual
who is a political leader by saying that
he praises Mahatma Gandhi in several
forums but doesn’t take any stern
action against those glorifying Godse.
“It has been observed that such
comments aired by the channel in the
said programme are not only bound to
sully the image of the individual but
may also potentially incite violent
tendencies which may not be conducive
to law and order situation,” the
notice added.
In its reply, GSTV denied having
violated the programme code. It said
that the show-cause notice
completely overlooked their right to
free speech and expression that is
enshrined in the Constitution,
reported ET.
“Our programme is in larger public
interest. It raises serious issue about
the attempts made by some to displace
Mahatma’s message by speaking about
his murderer Godse and by attempting
to give him a larger-than-life image.
Such attempts are clearly aimed not
just at lowering the image of
Mahatma but also to justify violence,
create a divide in the society. One has
to look at the programme objectively,
to understand the underlying
message,” the channel said in the
The matter was then sent for review
to an inter-ministerial committee
(IMC) and GSTV was asked to present
a verbal explanation on 24 June.
The decision of the IMC is pending and
it could be a suspension ranging from
10 days to 60 days.
Gujarat Samachar co-owner and GSTV
Director Shreyans Shah told ET, “We
are waiting to be told about the result
of the inquiry by the committee. Even
if they suspend us, we are clear we
did nothing wrong. We were only
trying to say the glorification of
Godse should be strictly checked. The
actual murderers of Gandhi are people
who don’t understand him. We have
not taken names and we respect the
heads of the country. But aren’t we
allowed to express our opinion?”

MIB hauls up Gujarati news channel GSTV

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