Arnab Goswami-led The News Broadcasting Federation (NBF), an association of 78 news channels, has set up a self-regulatory body to be called the Professional News Broadcasting Standards Organisation (PNBSO).
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The organisation will ensure that all the member channels follow the news broadcasting code of conduct that is aimed at improving and maintaining news broadcasting standards in India and curbing the menace of fake news.
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The PNBSO will entertain and decide on complaints against member channels, when they are accused of undertaking any unethical journalistic practices in broadcasting content.
To ensure the functions of the organisation are discharged smoothly, a nine-member panel, including the Chairman, has been appointed by the NBF.
Former Chief Justice of India Jagdish Singh Khehar has been appointed as the first Chairman of the PNBSO. The organisation also has four independent members, including RTI activist Shailesh Gandhi and media veteran Chintamani Rao. The nine-member panel has four editorial leaders.
The formation of NBF was spearheaded by Republic Media Network’s Arnab Goswami last year. Goswami is also the President of the body. “For far too long, a clutch of Delhi-based channels have falsely claimed to represent Indian broadcasting. NBF will change that for good,” Goswami had said at the time of forming the federation.
The other association of news channels known as News Broadcasting Association, which has all leading news channels as its members, is headed by India TV’s Rajat Sharma. The NBSA (News Broadcasting Standard Authority), set up by NBA but was made independent later, is headed by Justice AK Sikri.
Recently, NBA had urged advertisers not to advertise on news channels, including its members, if they were broadcasting toxic content.
Strict punishment for violation of broadcasting code
A code of conduct is in place for members to ensure all member channels adhere to the highest standards of broadcast journalism.
A top executive of an NBF member channel said that the code of conduct is much more stringent than that of the News Broadcasting Standards Authority, the standard-setting body of the News Broadcasting Association.
“The code is based on the International Press Standards Organisation of the UK (IPSO) and the Society of Professional Journalism of the USA,” the executive said.
The penalty for violation includes taking the anchor off air for any repeated violation. “For the first violation, we ask them to apologise on air and for the second violation, we ask the person (anchor) to be taken off air,” said another executive of an NBF member channel.
“The financial penalty could go up to Rs 10 lakh,” the executive added.