The News Broadcasters Association (NBA) has come out with a comprehensive set of standards and guidelines for television reporting.
India’s broadcasters have adopted sweeping guidelines covering reporting.
“The regulations, agreed to by the Indian National Broadcasters Association, cover the gamut from accuracy to sting operations. But the section receiving the most attention deals with coverage of national security operations.”
“Retired Indian Chief Justice Jagdish Saran Verma is chairman of the association’s ethics and standards authority, which drafted the regulations. He tells VOA News the strict guidelines should forestall calls by Indian politicians and others to impose stricter official regulations on news coverage. “There should not be any need for any further regulation,” he said. “Self-regulation by the broadcasters, based on these guidelines, will be sufficient.”
Following the recent Mumbai terror attacks, news channel reporting has come under a lot of criticism by the media itself as well as citizens’ groups for their irresponsible coverage.
Some TV reporters have defended their actions. Their contention is that they were under pressure because of intense competition betweens TV channels.
However, some have admitted that television news coverage did, indeed, behave somewhat irresponsibly.
A free media, whether print or television, is vital for a democracy. Muzzling news channels would curtain freedom of expression. Freedom of expression is necessary for a healthy society. Self-regulation is far more preferable in the case of the media than official regulation.
TV news channels have not been around as long as newspapers. So it seems that they had not yet formulated a set of rules for work ethics that would not hamper their freedom of expression, yet at the same time would not affect citizens’ rights and our national security in an adverse way.
If news channels are serious about self- regulation as they do seem to be today, then we can say that TV news coverage has indeed come of age. A mature , responsible media can only be an asset to a democratic India.