New Guidelines for TV Channels


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.

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18 thoughts on “New Guidelines for TV Channels”

  1. your last line sums up the situation so well. So far media here has been quite insensitive and irresponsible..for the sake of rating you cant let go of ethics.

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  2. So far, this move this seems to be designed to forestall any move by the government to lay down its own set of guidelines. Let us hope that this helps TV channels to rein themselves in. How ironical that some of those who do not want any restriction should themselves arm twist and gag bloggers!

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  3. Renu- The record of the TV channels so far has not been good. But we can only hope they will follow the guidelines that they themselves have set up.Vinodji- That they have set up the guidelines to avoid official ones was my first thought after reading the report. But even if they behave in a more ethical manner for their own self-interest, it will be an improvement.

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  4. yes,a responsible more mature and self regulating media is indeed good news for India….lets see how serious they are about this…and as Vinod sir says…Irony of the highest order…

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  5. Indyeah- Yes it is an irony. But we see this everywhere.Those who are more powerful or more educated or wealthier always think that the rules do not apply to them, only to others.Bones- I am not sure, but I think that govt. guidelines would supercede the ones laid down by the Broadcasters’ Association.I wouldn’t think that the govt. would take any unpopular action just now, though.

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  6. The sweeping guidelines keep getting swept under the carpet ! The Mumbai coverage was appalling to say the least. And moreover, it becomes important for people to understand the difference between reality TV and News ! A mature media is an asset. No doubt. And it is also a crying need in our present day circumstance !

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  7. This is welcome but I don’t know how far the rules and regulations will be implemented. Some time back there was a new regulation which was publicized even on BBC about kids taking part in reality shows. Nothing happened after that. Some decree is passed but rarely gets implemented.Here too I have been disgusted by the way our journos covered Kargil war in the past. Defence had opposed it then but that didn’t stop journos from doing the same on 26/11 too. Asking victims ‘How they feel’. Have you watched a Hindi film ‘Mumbai meri jaan’? See the Soha Ali segment.

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  8. http://indradhanush-laal.blogspot.com/. venkat comes up with a great title – transmission or communication.The problem is many media companies are owned. for eg. a certain percentage of TOI is owned by some italian company ( some sonia gandhi’s relative ) so is the TV channel..They worry about ratings – period – their chiefs are answerable to shareholders – The Answer : Bloggers – –Nobody can be stopped and the voice is only getting louder.

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  9. Mandira, yes, self regulation may be the only possible way, because loopholes can always be found in govt. guidelines.Kavi- “The sweeping guidelines keep getting swept under the carpet !”Lol!

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  10. Solilo- It is upto the public to force the channels to follow the guidelines. I think an alert public is important.Anrosh- Bloggers is certainly an effective answer. Now how to ensure that bloggers keep to ethical guidelines? I have seen bloggers ‘crossing the line’, particularly while maligning individuals without any proof.

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  11. There is lots to be done by TV Channels to improve their coverage. A bigger concern in this respect is the phenomenon of “media trials”. The manner in which channels portray the accused as confirmed criminals based on their probing questions is not in line with the systematic legal manner. The law provides for every accused person to be treated as innocent until proven guilty. Media treats accused as guilty until proven innocent! This is detrimental to the legal process.

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  12. Manju, You are right. If only public decides NOT to send SMSes to programs which involves young children and also voice opinion against media suckers we can do something positive.

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  13. Gopinathji- Yes, “trials by media” are something to be concerned about.I remember, at the time of the Arushi murder case, the news channels showed their “reconstuction” of how the murders were committed. This was completely unsubstantiated by known facts, but was believed to be the truth by many.Solilo- If the public acts responsibly then there is potential for it to do something positive. It can act as a check to an irresponsible media.

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