Today's Paper

‘Make ethics code must for all news channels’

The News Broadcasters Association (NBA) has told the Supreme Court to make its code of ethics against airing malicious, biased and regressive content applicable to all TV news channels.

For this, the NBA suggested that the court direct the government to include its ethical code in the Programme Code of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994. All news channels, whether they are NBA members or not, will then have to follow the Programme Code containing the proposed amendments.

The NBA affidavit is in response to an order by the Supreme Court on September 18 to suggest steps to strengthen the self-regulatory mechanism to prevent or penalise airing of communal or derogatory content on electronic media.

The order by a Bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud was in the background of a plea to stop the telecast of a programme ‘Bindas Bol’ on Sudarshan TV containing objectionable content against the Muslim entries into civil services. The court said the content was prima facie “plainly hurtful to the community. It is an affront to the dignity of the community.” The court said the NBA was “toothless” and its penalties hardly a deterrence for channels. The NBA said the News Broadcasters Services Authority (NBSA) should be granted recognition as an “independent self-regulatory mechanism” to receive and deal with complaints. Orders passed by the NBSA should be made binding and enforceable on channels. Recognition to NBSA would strengthen News Broadcasting Standards Regulations, the affidavit said.