MUMBAI: Broadcasters in India have always been under pressure for not following ethical norms and standards and depicting anything they wish to. However, there are certain organisatons like the News Broadcasters Association (NBA), Indian Broadcasters Foundation (IBF) which have framed regulatory policies for their members.
The News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) has come out with a series of orders regarding allegations against its member news channels. Channels Aaj Tak, CNN IBN and Sakshi TV unlike ABP News have been found to be in breach of the NBSA code of ethics.
Two cases were lodged against CNN-IBN regarding two separate incidences. The first complaint was filed by Mallige Medical Centre administrator R K Lal about a show titled ‘Bangalore woman incapacitated after botched surgery’ which was according to the complainant, a one sided story . The broadcaster was found to not have followed the guidelines and had failed to make adequate efforts to contact the hospital. The NBA has warned CNN-IBN and has asked it to tender an apology by airing it once on 10 January stating “CNN-IBN regrets and apologises for airing the programme titled ‘Bangalore woman incapacitated after botched surgery’ without ascertaining the version of Mallige Medical Centre on 29 to 30 March 2013 and 1 April, 6 April and 7 April 2013.” It has also ordered it to remove the video from its website and submit a proof of telecast of the apology to the NBA within seven days of telecast.
The second case against the English news channel was filed by Hariharan S regarding a child rape victim’s father being identified by one of the channel’s journalists while covering the protest at India Gate on 23 December 2012. Since it was a live coverage, the channel claimed that it didn’t think of covering his face and was only thinking of public interest but it could have been more careful. They also stated that no provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act were violated by revealing the father’s name. The NBSA found it to be in breach and asked it to remove the video from its website.
The Hindi broadcaster from the TV Today stable also had two complaints against its programmes. Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) general manager Pradip Kundu was the first complainant that its sting operation ‘Dalal Junction’ was biased as it had not tried to contact IRCTC and had carried the news piece without verifying facts. The channel was found to be in breach and was directed to tender an apology for five consecutive days from 13 January to 17 January at 6:00 pm by running an apology scroll on full screen in large font size with a voice over in slow speed. The video if uploaded on its website shall be pulled down.
The second complainant was Seema Mittal for a show titled ‘Vardat’ on 7 November 2012 with repeat telecasts where she alleged that the channel had carried a news piece with incorrect details. The channel has been directed to carry the unedited version of the complainant prominently for three minutes preceded by an apology scroll similarly done as the one above. In this case Aaj Tak has been ordered to pay a fine of Rs 1 lakh to the NBA within seven days because this was a second such willful violation in family/matrimonial matters.
Four students of NALSAR had approached the NBSA regarding the airing of a programme titled ‘drunken girls hulchul midnight’ that involved a fight between students and journalists claiming that the channel had portrayed them in a derogatory manner. The manner in which Sakshi TV’s cameraman thrust the camera in the car to capture footage of the girls along with the complainants and airing the footage without their version was highly objectionable. Sakshi TV has been asked to cough up Rs 1 lakh along with an apology for the days 15, 16 and 17 January 2014 in both English and Telugu.
The only channel that wasn’t found to be in breach of its guidelines was ABP News though a complaint was filed against it by Atul Jain regarding a programme it aired called ‘Bura Na Mano’ claiming that the channel had tried to show then railway minister Pawan Bansal as guilty in a matter under investigation by the CBI.