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Broadcasting redressal authority announces guidelines for news of emergency situations

Broadcasting redressal authority announces guidelines for news of emergency situations

The News Broadcasting Standards Disputes Redressal Authority has announced the “guidelines for telecast of news during emergency situations”. The guidelines have been “spontaneously accepted” by all 14 broadcasters running 22 news channels, the Indian Express reported.

The guidelines stipulate that no ‘live’ contact can be made with perpetrators of the crime, their hostages/victims and security personnel involved during the course of the operation, no operational details can be made public during the course of action, avoiding unnecessary repeats of archival footage and broadcast of “distressing visuals and graphics”.

The Express reported: [Link]

Former Chief Justice JS Verma, who heads the authority that formulated the guidelines, called for “factually accurate and objective” information dissemination “tested on the touchstone of public interest”.

“The judiciary and the media have become powerful organs. Once you become powerful, you must know your limits... self-regulation is far more effective and powerful as it is something you believe in and do voluntarily rather than be told to do so by someone else... we have framed some broad guidelines for the guidance of channels so that in such emergency, they know what to do and what not do,” he said.

While no specific penalty provisions for non-compliance of these guidelines were delineated by the authority today, Justice Verma said existing provisions and powers that the authority is vested with, will also apply here. The authority is empowered to admonish, warn, censure, express disapproval and/or impose a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh upon the broadcaster and/or recommend to the concerned authority for suspension/revocation of license of such a broadcaster and also take sou-motu cognizance of any breach of content guidelines besides acting on complaints.

Justice Verma also conceded that the Government does have rights within Article 19(2) of the Constitution to apply reasonable restriction on freedom of expression if necessary, but he added that self-regulation would work as a better system.

Date posted: December 19, 2008 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 515