New Delhi: New Delhi Television Ltd’s English and Hindi language news channels—NDTV 24x7 and NDTV India—have been asked by the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) to apologize on air for a news report they aired in October 2015.

The report related to the lynching of a man in Nahan, Shimla. The two channels had blamed the lynching on specific religious groups, naming them in their headlines.

In January 2016, the information & broadcasting (I&B) ministry lodged a complaint against NDTV 24x7 and NDTV India for “the telecast of alleged objectionable news report" by them.

On 18 July, NBSA, the self-regulatory complaints redressal body of the News Broadcasters Association (NBA), issued six orders to news broadcasters ETV, News24 and NDTV for the complaints it had received against them for coverage of different news items.

A detailed order issued by justice R.V. Raveendran, chairperson of the authority, said, “NBSA decided that the broadcaster (both channels) be directed to air its regret/apology for attributing the lynching to some named religious groups, apparently without verification of facts."

The channels have been asked to air the apology on 25 July prior to their 9:00 pm news.

New Delhi Television Ltd, which airs the channels, did not comment on the matter, saying it was till studying the order. 

NBSA also asked ETV News Bangla and ETV Madhya Pradesh Chhattisgarh News to apologize.

The channels have also been fined 1 lakh each.

A complaint was lodged against ETV News Bangla by a professor on grounds that the channel put the complainant and two of her friends on a media trial without ascertaining the facts of news it aired and against ETV Madhya Pradesh Chhattisgarh for promoting faith in vampirism and superstition through a special programme on vampires.

Both the channels are owned by Hyderabad-based ETV network.

Another channel of the network, ETV Uttar Pradesh Uttarakhand, however, was let off with a warning to be careful in the future after it aired a news report alleging irregularities on the part of Bulandshahar Development Authority in the construction of a mall.

ETV network did not wish to comment at the moment as it is still evaluating the orders.

The authority dismissed a case against Kerala-based Mathrubhumi News on grounds that it was sub-judice (before a court), it asked News24 Broadcast India Ltd-owned Hindi-language news channel News24 to submit “expression of regret" to NBSA, saying that the channel “would be careful in future and adhere to the principles of self regulation" relating to “impartiality & objectivity in reporting and ensuring neutrality’."

The authority had received a complaint against the channel from Lok Janshakti Party saying that News24 had, in one of its news reports, accused the party of cheating/defrauding people without any proof to back the allegation. 

Deep Upadhyay, managing editor at News24, said that the channel is a responsible stakeholder of the media industry and is committed to complying with NBSA’s guidelines.

“The expression of regret is purely a gesture of goodwill as directed by the NBSA as a mark of News 24’s commitment thereof," he said.