Is SC order on Sudarshan TV beginning of pre-censorship of media, asks Siddharth Zarabi

Senior Journalist and Managing Editor of NewJ Sidharth Zarabi has criticised Supreme Court’s order to halt the telecast of Sudarshan News show on “UPSC Jihad.” Taking to Twitter, Zarabi asked whether this order by the apex court marks the beginning of pre-censorship of media in the country.

Siddharth Zarabi tweeted:

Answering to a query by IRS officer Navneet Trumboo that does free speech also mean having the right to run a “hate show” against civil servants of a “particular community”, Zarabi clarified that his concern is only about the process, impact and future of news regulation.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday put a stay on the telecast of Sudarshan News series on UPSC Jihad, with seven out of nine episodes yet to air. The channel through the series has claimed that an organized conspiracy is at play to infiltrate the bureaucracy of the country.

Citing figures of UPSC exams in past few years and the purported difference between the written and interview marks of the Muslim candidates, the channel has claimed that a “Jihad” to take over bureaucracy is underway. They have alleged that Zakat foundation, a charitable body which provides free UPSC training to those from Muslim community, have deep influence over the entire examination and selection process.

It may be noted that out of total 40 Muslim candidates who cleared the UPSC exams for 2019, 27 were trained by Zakat foundation.

Justice K.M. Joseph, on the Bench, said that unlike United States, there is no separate freedom for journalists in India. “When we talk of journalistic freedom, it is not absolute. He shares the same freedom as like other citizens. There is no separate freedom for journalists as like in the US,” Bar and Bench quoted the judge as saying.

Suresh Chavhanke, the Editor-in-Chief of Sudarshan News meanwhile has said that the Supreme Court decision was taken on the basis of one graphic out of a four hour long episode. He has made his intentions to fight his case till the end, very clear.