With the Government considering a common code of conduct for all TV channels, News Broadcasters Association President Rajat Sharma reiterated the news body’s long-standing demand that the Government should recognise the NBA Code of Ethics and make it part of the Programme Code under the Cable TV Rules as has been done in the case of ASCI.
In his message to all NBA members after being re-elected President of NBA, Sharma wrote, “The present dispensation in the government has publicly acknowledged that they are for “self regulation” and not for any “statutory regulation”. To strengthen self-regulation, the Government should recognise the NBA Code of Ethics and make it part of the Programme Code under the Cable TV Rules as has been done in the case of ASCI, a long-standing demand of the NBA. We hope the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting would take steps in this direction.”
The advertisers’ concerns of toxic content raised by BestMediaInfo.com in September remained the focal point of Sharma’s message.
“This year also witnessed an unprecedented challenge of unregulated toxic content by some channels who are not NBA members. I am happy to share that NBA members stood together to fight against this menace. NBA believes in editorial standards ensuring objectivity, neutrality, fairness and accuracy in reporting. We have appealed to the advertisers not to support toxic content and sensationalism that promotes hate. I am happy to share that reputed brands have come forward and supported our stand,” he said.
On BARC India suspending the weekly individual ratings for all news channels for twelve weeks, Sharma wrote, “The corrupted, compromised, irrationally fluctuating data is creating a false narrative on What India Watches and has been putting pressure on our members to take editorial calls that run counter to the journalistic values and ideals of journalism. The current atmosphere of toxicity, abuse and fake news is no longer tenable and NBA as the custodian and guardian of Indian broadcast media believes a bold step of putting ratings of news genre on hold will help in improving the content.
I would urge all the member broadcasters during this twelve-week period to take all the necessary steps to improve the content of their channels and move away from the tyranny of ratings and ensure that the independent self-regulatory model adopted by the news broadcasters is vigorously supported and its decisions adhered to by all of us.”
Along with Sharma’s re-election as President of the NBA, Anuradha Prasad Shukla, Chairperson and Managing Director of News24 Broadcast, was elected Vice President and MK Anand, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Times Network, was elected Honorary Treasurer of the NBA for the year 2020-2021.
The other members on the NBA Board are:
MV Shreyams Kumar, Managing Director - Mathrubhumi Printing & Publishing
Rahul Joshi, Managing Director - TV18 Broadcast
Avinash Pandey, Chief Executive Officer - ABP Network
I. Venkat, Director - Eenadu Television
Kalli Purie Bhandal, Vice-Chairperson & Managing Director - TV Today Network
Sonia Singh, Editorial Director, NDTV
Sudhir Chaudhary, Chief Executive Officer - Cluster 1 - Zee Media Corporation