Television

NT editors discuss Content; draft Code in week's time

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NEW DELHI: The Editors of news TV channels based in Delhi met to discuss the issue of Code of Conduct and have charted 10 areas of concern.

Based on these 10 points, Times Now editor Arnab Goswami will develop a draft code within the next week, sources have revealed to indiantelevision.com.

Expectedly, the primary issue would be privacy and sting operations, which would be broken down into further sub-categories of violence, superstition, sleaze, showing of cadavers, explicit sexuality and cruelty, etc, along with the rather amorphous issue of impartiality.

But who would decide the parameters of impartiality? Sources said that Goswami would first develop the draft and these finer issues would then be discussed after the draft is circulated among all channels.

The meeting included Shazi Zaman (Star), Rajdeep Sardesai (CNN IBN), Pankaj Pachauri (NDTV), Arnab Goswami (Times Now), Ashutosh (IBN 7), NQ Naqvi (Aaj Tak), Satish K Singh (Zee News) and Annie Joseph, secretary general of the News Broadcasters Association.

Interestingly, India TV was not present, though the sources said that they had asked to be included in any committee that works on this. "They have said they would like to be part of the process because their content has come in for sharp criticism, so they will be with us."

(It may be recalled that during the NT Summit organised by Indiantelevision.com in Delhi in July, India TV had been hugely criticised by both NDTV and CNN IBN for showing what they termed 'entertainment, not news', for showing superstitious and violent footage.)

The meeting, held on Monday, also discussed the issue of broad-basing the process.

"We need credibility, because tomorrow the government might say that this is a grouping of a handful of Delhi editors, so we are looking into how to bring all the channels across the country into the loop," a senior official told indiantelevision.com.

The official said also that the Code could be made effective only if this inclusive process is complete.

There were discussions on how to create an agency and develop a mechanism for the implementation of the Code, and issues of penalties for violation.

"Without an agency mechanism in place, there cannot be implementation, so we need these, but these are issue which would be looked into once the draft is sent around and discussed," the sources added.

That draft would be prepared in consultation with a legal expert, it was revealed.

How would the Code be made binding? That has not been discussed yet, the sources said.

However, another issue discussed was whether the implementing agency would have in it just journalists or some eminent persons too, to give it greater credibility.

It is possible that an ombudsman kind of agency on the lines of the Advertising Agencies Council of India is developed.

"The ASCI is a good model for us to follow," the sources said.

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