New Delhi: The Editors Guild of India has demanded stricter vigilance by broadcasters and journalist bodies to curb irresponsible targeting of vulnerable communities in the country.
The prominent journalists’ organisation has said it was disturbed by the irresponsible conduct of some new channels which “deliberately created circumstances” by spewing hatred towards these communities and their beliefs.
A statement, signed by the guild’s office-bearers Seema Mustafa, Sanjay Kapoor and Anant Nath, said recent remarks by ruling party spokespersons had prompted an “unprecedented trenchant reaction from many countries” who are now “wondering about India’s commitment to human rights and freedom of religion”.
“Expectedly, there was a riot in Kanpur,” the statement said without directly mentioning the cause – derogatory remarks against Prophet Muhammad by BJP leaders Nupur Sharma and Naveen Kumar Jindal. Sharma made the comments while participating in a television debate.
The journalists’ body said this “unnecessary embarrassment” to the country could have been avoided if some of the TV outlets had been mindful of the “nation’s constitutional commitment to secularism, as well as the journalistic ethics and guidelines that the Press Council of India has issued to handle a volatile communal situation”.
The Guild said these channels should pause and take a critical look at what they have done by “giving legitimacy to divisive and toxic voices that has made the national discourse coarse and the gap between communities unbridgeable”.
The Guild also said the media should strengthen the Constitution and the law rather than break it through “sheer irresponsibility and absence of accountability”.