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'Grant Us Recognition To Bring All News Broadcasters, Irrespective Of Membership, Within Its Binding Jurisdiction': NBA Tells SC In Sudarshan TV Matter [Read Affidavit]

Mehal Jain
20 Sep 2020 7:16 AM GMT
Grant Us Recognition To Bring All News Broadcasters, Irrespective Of Membership, Within Its Binding Jurisdiction: NBA Tells SC In Sudarshan TV Matter [Read Affidavit]
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The News Broadcasters Association, in its affidavit before the Supreme Court, has suggested that its Code of Ethics should be included under Rule 6 of the 'Program Code' of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994 by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to make the Code binding all news broadcasters, irrespective of membership of NBA.

The affidavit has been filed in response to the court's directions on Friday demanding how the self-regulatory mechanism of the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) could be strengthened and made more effective in respect of the electronic media.
"The court may grant recognition to NBSA, the independent self-regulatory mechanism so that complaints against all news broadcasters, whether members of NBA or not, maybe entertained by the NBSA and the orders passed by NBSA would be binding and enforceable on all news broadcasters. Recognition to NBSA would also strengthen the News Broadcasting Standards Regulations and the penalties mentioned herein could be made more stringent", advances the affidavit.
It is further urged that the amenability to NBSA mechanism should be made a term of the uplinking/downlink information for news channels, and the orders made, if any, against the new broadcaster may be considered by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting at the time of granting renewal of such permission.

The affidavit, through Advocate Rahul Bhatia asserts that the manner in which the independent self-regulatory adjudicatory body, NBSA, adjudicates upon complaints received from viewers/aggrieved persons in respect of the programmes telecast by the member broadcasters has already been furnished. However, in view of the fact that not all news broadcasters/news channels come within the jurisdiction of the NBSA, the NBSA has made the above suggestions to make the self-regulatory body and mechanism more effective and to give it more teeth.
During the hearing of the case against Sudarshan News TV's controversial show, the Supreme Court had on Friday chided the News Broadcaster's Association (NBA) over its laxity in enforcing its own regulations.

Justice D Y Chandrachud, the presiding judge of the bench, called the NBA 'toothless'.

"Do you watch TV or not? Why have you not controlled what is going on in the news", the judge asked NBA's lawyer, Advocate Nisha Bhambhani.

Bhambhani replied that the NBA has improved significantly and has made several channels apologize during airtime for violating the norms on the reports. The counsel also informed the bench that all channels are not its members.

Seemingly unsatisfied with the response, the bench said that it wanted stronger regulation by the NBA.

"One thing you can do is come back to us on a method to strengthen NBA, so that you have a higher regulatory content. You have a few members and your regulations cannot be implemented. You need to tell us how it can be strengthened", Justice Chandrachud said.

A bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and K M Joseph was hearing the plea which alleged that the show 'Bindas Bol' hosted by Suresh Chavhanke, the Editor-in-Chief of Sudarshan News, was communalizing the entry of Muslims into the civil services. On September 15, the top court had stayed the telecast of the show after making a prima facie observation that 'the object intent and the purpose of the show was to vilify the Muslim community'.

Click Here To Download Affidavit

[Read Affidavit]

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