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Supreme Court of India calls for stricter self-regulation in TV news amid NBDA and NBF rivalry



Date: September 18, 2023


In a landmark development that underscores the growing concerns surrounding the state of television news in India, the Supreme Court has issued a noteworthy directive. It has refrained from delving into the rivalry between the News Broadcasters Association (NBDA) and the News Broadcasters Federation (NBF) but has instead called for a tightening of the self-regulatory mechanisms governing TV news channels. This move comes in the wake of increasing scrutiny of the news media's role in shaping public discourse and the need for more robust accountability.


Background: NBDA vs. NBF


The NBDA and NBF are two prominent industry bodies representing various television news broadcasters in India. Over the years, both organizations have been vying for supremacy and influence in shaping industry regulations. Their rivalry has often spilled into public view, with accusations and counter-accusations, making headlines.


The Supreme Court's decision to abstain from intervening in this rivalry underscores its commitment to addressing larger issues within the industry. The judiciary recognizes that the core problem lies not in the competition between these organizations but in the broader challenges faced by the TV news industry.


The call for stricter Self-Regulation


The Supreme Court's decision is a clear signal that it views the current state of self-regulation within the television news sector as inadequate. It points to a pressing need for stronger mechanisms to ensure accountability, integrity, and impartiality in news reporting.


Transparency: The court has called for increased transparency in the functioning of news channels. This includes making editorial processes and funding sources more accessible to the public, thereby reducing the potential for biased reporting.


Code of Conduct: It emphasizes the need for a comprehensive code of conduct that all news channels must adhere to. This code should encompass guidelines on fair reporting, ethical journalism, and the responsible handling of sensitive issues.


Third-party oversight: The Supreme Court has suggested the possibility of third-party oversight mechanisms to monitor compliance with the code of conduct. This could involve independent bodies or experts who can assess the fairness and accuracy of news coverage.


Accountability Measures: The judiciary also stresses the importance of implementing stringent accountability measures for news organizations that fail to adhere to the established standards. This may include fines, penalties, or temporary suspensions of broadcasting licenses.


Public Feedback Mechanisms: To enhance accountability, the court has encouraged the development of mechanisms that allow the public to provide feedback and register complaints against news channels. Such mechanisms would enable citizens to hold media outlets accountable for biased or false reporting.


Public Opinion and Implications


The Supreme Court's decision has generated significant interest and discussion among the public and media professionals alike. While many applaud the move as a step in the right direction, some express concerns about potential government interference in media operations. Striking the right balance between regulatory oversight and preserving journalistic independence will be a crucial challenge moving forward.


Conclusion


In conclusion, the Supreme Court's decision to stay out of the NBDA-NBF rivalry and instead focus on tightening self-regulation in the TV news industry reflects a growing recognition of the importance of responsible journalism in a democratic society. It remains to be seen how these recommendations will be implemented and whether they will lead to a more accountable and ethical news media landscape in India. As this story unfolds, it underscores the critical role that the judiciary plays in upholding democratic values and principles in the modern media landscape.


 

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