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News broadcasters set up redress mechanism; self-regulation code comes into play

News broadcasters set up redress mechanism; self-regulation code comes into play

The News Broadcasters Association (NBA) has set up a News Broadcasting Standards Disputes Redressal Authority as a measure of self-regulation. The nine-member authority will be headed by the former Chief Justice, JS Verma. Four of the other members, the Hindu reported, will be editors from different news channels and the remaining four from a category titled 'eminent persons' drawn from different walks of life. All nine members will hold office for two years.

The mechanism came into effect on Thursday.

The four 'eminent persons' are historian Ramachandra Guha, former NASSCOM president Kiran Karnik, sociologist Dipankar Gupta, and economist Nitin Desai. The four editors would be Vinod Kapri of India TV, BV Rao of Zee News, Milin Khandekar of Star News and Arnab Goswami of Times Now.

Earlier, the NBA, a collective of 14 private broadcasters representing 30 news channels, had adopted a Code of Ethics & Broadcasting Standards for itself. This code also came into effect from Thursday.

The Hindu report said:

The News Broadcasting Standards (Disputes Redressal) Regulations mandate that every complainant should pay Rs. 1,000 towards the functioning of the authority, which has the power to impose costs of up to Rs. 10,000 in favour of or against complainants.

The complainant has to first seek redress from the broadcaster. Once with the authority, the attempt will be to address a complaint within three months. If the complaint pertains to a channel which has its representation on the authority among the four editor members, then that individual will have to step aside for that particular case. All cases can be decided only if five members including the chairman are present. And, among the members, both categories have to be equally represented.

The authority has been set up in response to renewed efforts by the government to put in place a regulatory framework for broadcasters through legislation. This was stiffly resisted by the media in general and television channels in particular. In turn, the NBA – set up over a year ago – offered to come up with its own self-regulation guidelines to ensure broadcasting standards.

The Indian Express too had some backgrounder:

The NBA’s content guidelines call for impartiality and objectivity in reporting, ensuring neutrality in crime reporting in a way that does not induce, glorify, incite or positively depict violence and its perpetrators or have a misleading or desensitising effect, shunning sex and nudity and respecting privacy of individuals. Besides refraining from advocating or encouraging superstition and occultism, anything endangering national security should not be encouraged, says the NBA code. Sting operations have been termed as the ‘last resort’ and must be in an ‘identifiable public interest’, the code reads.

Date posted: October 3, 2008 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 998