I&B Ministry issues notice to Zee Tamil on kids show that ‘mocked PM’
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued a notice to Zee Entertainment Enterprises, seeking comments regarding the complaint filed by BJP State President of IT and Social Media Cell, Tamil Nadu, CTR Nirmal Kumar. The complaint was filed alleging that ‘obnoxious’ comments were made against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a Tamil reality show recently.
The notice states that the “Ministry has received a complaint against telecast of a TV programme Junior Super Star Season 4 on 15.01.2022 (January 15) by Zee Tamil TV channel” and that the extract of the complaint was attached to the notice. Further, the letter states that ZEE “is requested to provide comments on the complaint to this Ministry within a period of 7 days, failing which further action will be taken.”
The notice has been issued after BJP raised concerns over an episode of a reality television show called ‘Junior Super Stars Season 4’ broadcast on Zee Tamil. It was alleged that two child contestants performed a skit that was allegedly mocking Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The skit under question was aired on January 15, and in the episode, two children dressed as the king and minister from a popular Tamil historical political satire film Imsai Arasan 23am Pulikesi were seen making fun of the ruler of a country named Sindhiya.
In the two-minute-long video of the episode which is doing the rounds on social media, the children are seen narrating the story of a king who tried to demonetise the currencies in a bid to eradicate black money, but failed in the process. The kids also go on to say that instead of eradicating black money, the 'king' merely wears jackets in different colours and roams around. The children are also seen making fun of a disinvestment scheme and the rule of the king in the country, to which the judges and others present in the audience are seen applauding.
However, the BJP alleged that the show ‘made fun’ of the Prime Minister over the 2016 demonetisation exercise by making fun of the fictitious king who carried out a similar exercise. Nirmal Kumar wrote a letter to the Chief Cluster Officer of Zee Enterprises Limited Siju Prabhakaran saying that the children, aged around 10, were ‘deliberately’ asked to make these comments against the Prime Minister, and accused the channel of not taking any action to curtail “blatant misinformation” being spread against the Prime Minister.
He also said that when BJP contacted the judges, they had reportedly said that it was not their reaction to the performance and that they were shocked at the edit. They claimed that their reactions at other times were edited and added here, he said.
Nirmal also added that the channel had promised to remove the concerned part from its website and will abstain from retelecasting the same, following his letter.