As it emerged that a video showing Jawaharlal Nehru University Student Union president Kanhaiya Kumar raising incendiary slogans was allegedly a doctored one, larger questions are being asked of television channels and their decision to broadcast such videos without verifying the content.
At last count, four videos were in circulation. The News Broadcasting Authority of India, headed by retired judge K.T. Raveendran, says its members would look into the matter and if necessary, take action.
An FIR registered by the Delhi Police on February 11 says the Zee News broadcast a video on February 10 showing some JNU students raising anti-India and pro-Pakistan slogans. However, the FIR nowhere mentions Kanhaiya’s involvement. Later, the Delhi Police, in a status report to the Home Ministry, accused the activists of the Democratic Students’ Front, the All India Students’ Federation, of which Kanhaiya is a member, the Students’ Federation of India and the All India Students Union of being part of the gathering where seditious slogans were raised.
A week later, on February 17, in another channel, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra showed a video playing on his iPad, as proof of anti-India slogans raised on the JNU campus.
Three more channels aired the video.
Times Now clarified that it had aired the video and Mr. Patra’s claim and had added caveats about the need for verifying the contents of the video. “Arnab Goswami [anchor] is heard telling Sambit that the video needs to be verified,” channel sources said.
The emergence of a new video clip on Thursday morning on some news channels challenged the authenticity of the one aired on February 10.
By showing the same event from a different angle, the channel claimed that the audio containing anti-India slogans were added. This was later picked by India Today TV.
None of these slogans shown on the clip on ABP News has any reference to Kashmir or raise anti-India sentiment, which raises the possibility that a different audio track could have been superimposed on the previous video in question.
The FIR mentions Head Constable Rambir and Constables Karambir and Dharmbir were deployed at the venue in plainclothes following a complaint made by JNSU General Secretary of the ABVP party.