India TV returns to NBA fold after three-month estrangement

NEW DELHI: India TV has returned to the News Broadcasters Association after three months of estrangement over the decision of the NBA Authority taking suo motu action on the telecast of a report relating to an interview by a Pakistani researcher to Reuters after the terrorist attacks in Mumbai on 26 November last year.

Following the channel's return to the NBA, its founder-chairman Rajat Sharma will rejoin as a member of the NBA Board. The channel's managing editor Vinod Kapri, who had tendered his resignation, returns as a member of the NBA Authority.

It is understood that though the channel was forced to pay a penalty of Rs 100,000 and run an apology scroll, India TV which had quit NBA on 19 April decided to sink differences after some members of the NBA Board – themselves broadcasters - were sympathetic and admitted the guidelines of the Board had not been followed.

NBA sources told that any viewer can complain to the respective TV channel directly about any report. The matter goes to the NBA Authority headed by Justice JS Verma only after the channel has not been able to satisfy the complainant within one week.

India TV had run a late night report in Hindi about an interview given in English to Reuters by Barhana Ali who is a researcher with the American CIA about the terrorist attack. Ali had subsequently complained to the channel that the interview had been in English to Reuters and not to the channel, and that she had been erroneously described as a CIA spy.

The channel had subsequently run a story clarifying the points made by Ali, and she was satisfied. The NBA Board had been duly informed and decided to treat the matter as closed.

However, the 9-member NBA Authority – set up by the NBA Board – decided suo motu to take up the case and is understood to have taken a decision against the channel in a hearing which reportedly did not have the quorum as required under the guidelines.

India TV is understood to have taken the decision to return in the larger interest of unity among news channels.

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