English and several regional languages of India. Zee News was launched on 27 August 1999, as Zee Sports Ltd. The company was reincorporated on 27 May 2004, as Zee News Ltd. In 2013, Zee News Ltd changed its name to Zee Media Corporation Limited. The Zee News channel is the flagship channel of the company.
The chairman of the group is Subhash Chandra, who is a Bharatiya Janata Party-backed member of the Rajya Sabha. Sudhir Chaudhary is the editor-in-chief of Zee News and the anchor of the prime time show on the channel. The channel has been involved in several controversies and has broadcast fabricated news stories on multiple occasions. The channel is subjected to an ongoing criminal defamation case against legislator Mahua Moitra as of March 2020.
The Zee Media Corporation Limited (ZMCL) operates a number of other channels, some in regional languages with the stated intent of providing a pan-Indian reach.
- World is One News (WION): English language news channel.
- Zee Business: Hindi language business news channel.
- Zee Hindustan: 24/7 national Hindi language news channel. It was relaunched in 2017 as an anchor-less news channel. It was formerly branded as Zee Sangam and India 24×7.
- Zee 24 Taas: 24/7 Marathi language regional news channel.
- Zee 24 Kalak: 24/7 Gujarati language regional news channel. It was inaugurated on 20 August 2017 by Vijay Rupani, the Chief Minister of Gujarat.
- Zee Rajasthan: Hindi language news channel operating in Rajasthan. It was formerly branded as Zee Marudhara.
- Zee Odisha: Odia language regional news channel. It was formerly branded as Zee Kalinga.
- Zee Salaam: Urdu language news channel.
- Zee Madhya Pradesh Chhattisgarh: Hindi language news channel operating in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
- Zee Punjab Haryana Himachal: Punjabi and Hindi language news channel operating in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
- Zee Bihar Jharkhand: Hindi and Bhojpuri language news channel operating in Bihar and Jharkhand. It was formerly branded as Zee Purvaiya.
- Zee Uttar Pradesh Uttarakhand: Hindi language news channel operating in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
The company also runs two regional news channels through its subsidiaries.
- Zee 24 Ghanta: 24/7 Bengali language regional news channel. It is owned by the Zee Akash News Pvt Ltd subsidiary.
- Maurya TV: Hindi language news channel operating in Bihar and Jharkhand. It is owned by the Maurya TV Pvt Ltd subsidiary.
Zee News operates the Daily News & Analysis and Zee News websites to provide online coverage of the channel. The Zee5 Website which is owned by the Zee Entertainment Enterprises is used to platform coverage of other ZMCL channels. The World is One News (WION) channel operates its own WION website. The ZMCL also owns the India.com news website.
- Zee News Website: English and Hindi language online news coverage service of Zee News.
- Daily News & Analysis Website: English language online news coverage service. It is branded under the DNA program of Zee News.
- Zee5 Website: Streaming service which hosts ZMCL news channels.
- WION Website: English language online news coverage service of World is One News.
- India.com: English and Hindi language news website owned by ZMCL
The Daily News & Analysis was an English-language broadsheet newspaper owned by the Zee Media Corporation Limited. It was launched on 30 July 2005 and branded under the Daily News & Analysis (DNA) program of Zee News. It was primarily circulated in Mumbai and discontinued on 9 October 2019 citing recurring losses.
Controversies and criticism
Jindal Group incident
The channel was tried for allegedly extorting ₹1 billion from the Jindal Group revealed through a sting operation. Two senior journalists Sudhir Chaudhary and Sameer Ahluwalia were arrested. The two were sent to 14-day judicial custody in Tihar jail and were ultimately released on bail. Naveen Jindal had accused the two journalists of trying to extort ₹1,000,000,000 (equivalent to ₹1.7 billion or US$23 million in 2019) in advertisements for Zee News from him through blackmail by threatening to air stories against his company in the Coalgate scam. Zee News denied the charges and made counter claims of Jindal offering them ₹200,000,000 (equivalent to ₹330 million or US$4.6 million in 2019) to halt their investigations against Jindal Steel‘s involvement in the scam but filed no charges. In July 2018, the Jindal Group withdrew the case against Zee News and both parties to the litigation stated that an out of court settlement had been reached which remains undisclosed.
Cases of fabrication
Jawaharlal Nehru University sedition controversy
Main article: 2016 JNU sedition controversy
Zee News reported that students from the Democratic Students’ Union (DSU) raised “anti-India” slogans such as Bharat ki barbadi (Destruction of India) and Pakistan Zindabad (Long live Pakistan) in an event on the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus. In a letter Vishwa Deepak, a journalist working at the channel gave a statement that “our biases made us hear Bhartiya Court Zindabad (Long live Indian courts) as Pakistan Zindabad.” Vishwa Deepak later resigned from the channel after expressing reservations over its “biased coverage”. The footage on the newscast of Zee News had formed the basis of charges filed by the Delhi Police. Sudhir Chaudhary, editor and prime time anchor of the channel however on a telecast made a statement saying “our channel only showed what was happening there, whatever we have shown is 100% authentic.” A forensic report of the Delhi Police however later stated that the footage was doctored. However later another forensic report of Central Bureau of Investigation found the footage authentic.
GPS Chips in ₹2000 currency notes
Anchor Sudhir Chaudhary ran a Daily News and Analysis program announcing that the Indian 2000-rupee note issued after the 2016 Indian banknote demonetisation by the government have GPS chips which will allow the government to track currency, thereby reducing corruption. The Minister of Finance, Arun Jaitley dismissed the report as being rumours. The Reserve Bank of India has also given a statement that no such chips are present in the currency notes. The presence of “nano GPS” in the currency notes has been classified as a hoax being spread on social media.
Navjot Singh Sidhu – Alwar controversy
Zee News telecasted a video with the claim that the slogans of Pakistan Zindabad were raised at a rally in Alwar presided over by the Indian National Congress politician, Navjot Singh Sidhu. Sidhu accused Zee News of playing a doctored video and threatened to file a defamation suit against Zee News. Sidhu stated that slogans of Jo Bole So Nihal were misconstrued as being in favor of Pakistan. Zee News accused Sidhu of calling a news broadcast to be fake news sent a defamation notice to him. The noticed demanded a apology from him within 24 hours and threatened to pursue legal recourse if an apology was not issued by him.
Mahua Moitra criminal defamation case
Zee News telecasted a show featuring editor-in-chief Sudhir Chaudhary where he claimed that Trinamool Congress legislator Mahua Moitra had plagiarised author Martin Longman in her maiden speech after being elected to the Lok Sabha. Moitra accused the channel of false reporting and submitted a breach of privilege motion against Zee News and Sudhir Chaudhary. Martin Longman responded and stated that the legislator did not plagiarise him. Subsequently, Moitra filed a criminal defamation case against Chaudhary.
Coverage of 2020 Delhi election results
The 2020 Delhi Legislative Assembly election were held on 8 February 2020. The exit poll results predicted the Aam Aadmi Party to retain their government in National capital territory of Delhi. The Zee News telecast of the exit poll results featured Sudhir Chaudhary who indulged in polemic commentary against the voters of the election. He stated that the people of Delhi had chosen Pakistan over Hindustan and that the rule of Mughals will now return. He further alleged the people of Delhi are lazy and only concerned about “freebies” and that issues like Ram Mandir, Balakot airstrike and Revocation of Article 370 do not matter to them which is why they have rejected the Bharatiya Janata Party. The telecast resulted in backlash and mockery of Zee News and Sudhir Chaudhary on social media.
Ban in Nepal
On 9 July 2020, Nepal’s satellite and cable television operators banned Zee News and some other Indian privately owned news channels, citing “propaganda and defamatory report against Nepal government”.