Television

News Broadcasters Federation (NBF) pushes for democratic governance, content regulation norms

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The topmost executives of India’s news Industry, part of the News Broadcasters Federation (NBF) recently met in Mumbai to decide on the critical issues involving content regulation and governance within the Industry. In a meeting attended by over 30 top executives representing national and regional channels, a decision has been taken to form an ‘alternative standards’ organisation called the News Broadcasters Federation Authority, aiming to bring in more transparent self-regulation on content. More than 50 news channels have come together to create a charter and a governance board for NBF.

The News industry trade body has decided to open-up memberships for TV channels and broadcasters from across India, starting November 1st, 2019. This is the first time in the history of Indian broadcasting that a group of regional and national broadcasters have come together to form a body that represents their combined interests and perspective on matters related to the news broadcasting industry.

Another key decision taken by the NBF is that its upcoming Secretariat will be based out of the National Capital – Delhi, given the proximity to the Government Ministries, concerned Departments and Industry Regulators.

The meeting and finalisation of the agenda to move forward with NBF is critical and comes at a time when the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is finalising a draft of rules and regulations to hold media accountable, including the proposed framework for online content and news. Significantly, the first formal meeting of the NBF also saw support pouring in from some distribution platform operators or DPOs, who also own television news channels.

News Broadcasters Federation (NBF) was formed in July this year, bringing together 50 news channels representing broadcasters from all languages and all regions of India, making it the true representative of broadcasters across India. The NBF will be governed by a Board of Directors, and four Issues-Specific Committees to be constituted among the members. The Committee on Public Policy will address the larger issues with various stakeholders including Government of India, State Governments, Judiciary, and civil society organisations.

NBF aims to have a self-regulatory body – ‘News Broadcasters Federation Authority’, which will create new standards for news broadcasting and address any violation through a committee of editors from within the federation. The self-regulation mechanism will be led by a Chairman, and four independent eminent persons, and another four editors.

A structured Committee on Distribution will be formed in order to increase the consumption of news and expand the viewership of member companies both within India and outside.  A Committee on Finance will also be formed to help member companies to strengthen liquidity through technology-driven solutions. NBF will also explore setting up other committees as and when the need arises.
 

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