Rajat Sharma elected as president of NBDA

The board elected ABP Network CEO Avinash Pandey as vice president.

Mumbai: The News Broadcasters and Digital Association (NBDA) has elected Rajat Sharma as president at a meeting held on Monday. The board also elected ABP Network chief executive officer Avinash Pandey as vice president and Times Network managing director and chief executive officer MK Anand as honorary treasurer for the year 2021-22.

The other members on the NBDA board include News24 Broadcast India chairperson-cum-managing director Anuradha Prasad Shukla; Mathrubhumi Printing and Publishing managing director MV Shreyams Kumar; TV18 broadcast managing director Rahul Joshi; Eenadu Television director I Venkat; TV Today Network vice-chairperson and managing director Kalli Purie; New Delhi Television editorial director Sonia Singh, and Zee Media chief executive officer - cluster 1 Sudhir Chaudhary.

Formerly known as the News Broadcasters Association, the industry body had renamed itself after it decided to bring digital media news broadcasters within the membership of the association. The members at the EGM unanimously passed the modification in the name of the association and amendments to the memorandum and articles of association.

“I am glad to inform the members that the ministry of corporate affairs, government of India have approved the new name and the amendments to the memorandum and articles of association,” said Rajat Sharma in a statement.

The ministry of electronics and information technology notified the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (IT rules), thereby bringing digital media, including OTT platforms, digital news broadcasters, and news aggregators, for the first time, within the ambit of government supervision.

The IT rules which have been framed to regulate digital media, not only lay down a code of ethics to be complied by digital news broadcasters but also establishes a three-tier grievance redressal mechanism to ensure observance of the same.

Similarly, the ministry of information and broadcasting also notified the Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules, 2021(Cable Amendment Rules) to establish a three-tier complaint redressal structure to ensure observance of the Programme Code and Advertisement Code under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994.

"NBDA has challenged the constitutionality of both the IT rules and cable amendment rules in the Kerala high court on various grounds including on the grounds that the rules give the government authorities excessive powers to unreasonably and impermissibly restrict the freedom of speech and expression of the media under Article 19 (1)(a) of the Constitution. Interim orders were granted in favour of NBDA in both matters," observed Sharma. 

Despite several months having passed, the Broadcast Audience Research Council (Barc) ratings have not been restored as yet. "The NBDA board and Barc have had several rounds of discussions to ensure that reliable, credible, tamper-free data is made available to the news broadcasters," said Sharma. 

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