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“Pause And Take A Critical Look”: Editors Guild Slams News Channels Over Kanpur Violence Coverage

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Their “irresponsible conduct” has made the national discourse coarse, the Editors Guild said in its statement.

New Delhi: According to the Press Trust of India (PTI), The Editors Guild of India (EGI) on Wednesday asked news channels to pause and take a critical look at what they did just to increase viewership and profit during the Kanpur violence, noting that their “irresponsible conduct” has made the national discourse coarse and the gap between communities unbridgeable.

It also called for increased caution by broadcasters and journalist organizations, noting that the recent incident of Kanpur violence, which caused “unnecessary embarrassment” to the country, could have been avoided if those news outlets had heeded the country’s constitutional commitment to secularism, as well as the Press Council of India’s journalistic ethics and guidelines.

After Friday prayers, violence occurred in Kanpur, with members of two communities throwing bricks and explosives in response to attempts to close stores in protest over BJP spokeswoman Nupur Sharma’s provocative remarks during a TV discussion.

The Editors Guild stated in a statement, “The Editors Guild of India is disturbed by the irresponsible conduct of some national news channels for deliberately creating circumstances that target vulnerable communities by spewing hatred towards them and their beliefs.

As expected, there was a riot in Kanpur, accompanied by a ” unprecedented trenchant reaction” from several countries angered by the sentiments of the ruling party spokespersons, it claimed, adding that their heated statements questioned India’s commitment to human rights and religious freedom.

The EGI said, as reported by PTI, “The incident that caused 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.”

Instead, it noted, some of these channels, motivated by a drive to boost viewership and profit, appeared to be influenced by the values of Radio Rwanda, whose provocative broadcasts led to genocide in the African country.

“The EGI demands that these channels pause and take a critical look at what they have done by giving legitimacy to divisive and toxic voices that have made the national discourse coarse and the gap between communities unbridgeable,” the Editors Guild said.

The EGI added that it also demands stricter vigilance by broadcaster and journalist bodies to “prevent a recurrence of this from taking place.” The media exists to strengthen the Constitution and the law, not to undermine them via irresponsibility and a lack of accountability, according to the EGI.

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