NBA’s News Broadcasting Standards (Disputes Redressal) Authority begins operation

NEW DELHI: News Broadcasters Association’s (NBA) “News Broadcasting Standards (Disputes Redressal) Authority” which was formed earlier on 22 August, 2008 to enforce NBA's code of ethics and broadcasting standards has begun operation from today 2 October.

Headed by former chief justice and former NHRC chairperson Justice J S Verma the nine member authority includes historian Ramachandra Guha, former Nasscom chief Kiran Karnik, JNU don Dipankar Gupta and economist and ex-under secretary general of UN, Nitin Desai who are four members from non-news television background while its editor-members are, India TV managing editor Vinod Kapri, Zee News group editor B V Rao, Star News managing editor Milind Khandekar and Times Now editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami.

At a press conference organised in Delhi, Verma said, “This is an initiative taken by the Indian news television industry and I am more than happy to be a part of this. It is good to see that the broadcasters have realised the need to come together to regulate the industry. We would try to resolve the grievances keeping the interest of the audiences and broadcasters.”

As per the self- regulation mechanism if any broadcaster, television journalist or news agency is found guilty of showing in appropriate content the authority can warn, admonish, censure, express disapproval against or impose a fine of Rs 1 lakh upon the broadcaster, television journalist or news agency.

The Authority can even recommend to the concerned authority for suspension, revocation of license, accreditation of such broadcaster, television journalist or news agency.

When asked about the amount of fined levied is too low for broadcasters, Verma replied, “it’s not a matter of charging Rs 1 lakh or one rupee as the fine; it’s the matter of self-respect. One time fine might not tarnish a broadcaster’s reputation but if it’s repeated then I am sure even the broadcaster will worry about its reputation being mottled both in the industry and in front of the viewers.”

The functioning of the authority is restricted to the members of NBA which has 14 broadcasters with 130 channels including regional channels like Sun TV, ETV and general English and Hindi news channels as its members.

Within fourteen days from the date of receipt of a complain, a copy of the complain alongwith a notice requiring the broadcaster to show cause why action should not be taken against it, will be sent to the broadcaster against whom the complaint has been made.

According to the Authority the maximum time that will be taken to resolve complains will be three months.

It is mandatory for the Authority to meet at least once in every two months. And the quorum of such meeting would consist of at least five members including the chairperson and two more members from non-news television background and two members from editors’ side of the table.

The summary of every enquiry would be available on NBA’s website which will be launched in another 10 days, through press release and in the annual report of NBA which will be published in various newspapers.

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