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Ready to formulate news coverage 'guidelines', IBF members assure govt.

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NEW DELHI: After surrogate advertising and 'offensive' music videos on television channels, it's the turn of news channels to feel the heat from the government.

The Indian Broadcasting Foundation today at a meeting decided that there is a need to formulate some guiding principles for covering news for television channels. In the interim, the news channels would strictly follow the guidelines that have been laid out in the Cable TV (Networks) Regulation Act and show some restraint while covering events like terrorist attacks.

The guidelines for the news channels would be formulated as a soon as possible, after a consensus through consultation process with IBF members. After its formulation, the guidelines would be sent to the government.

Today's IBF meeting, attended by news channel heads of various organisations, were told that the Indian government has requested the IBF to discuss the issue amongst members through a missive sent earlier and that a set of guidelines have to be evolved for news channels.

The government provocation came after defence forces allegedly complained that coverage of some events interfered with their operations. A case that has been repeatedly brought up by the government to highlight this is the attack on the Akshardham temple in the state of Gujarat where terrorists held some devotees captives and the administration to ransom, before being taken out by commandos during a rescue mission that lasted over 12 hours.

In this case the defence forces had complained that live coverage of the rescue mission on television caused inconveniences in carrying out official duties, especially when it involved human lives.

At today's IBF meeting issues like airing of video that could cause trauma (like the recently assassinated Gujarat politician Hiren Pandya's bullet-riddled body) were also discussed.

Those who attended the meeting included Star News president Ravina Raj Kohli, her deputy Sanjay Pugalia, Sahara Samay's Arup Ghosh and TV Today Network's news director Uday Shankar.

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