New Delhi, Sep 20 (IANS) The News Broadcasters Association (NBA) has requested the Supreme Court to grant recognition to its News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) so as to make all news channels, members or otherwise, duty-bound to follow its directives and also be liable to penalties.
“Recognition to the NBSA would also strengthen the news broadcasting standard regulations and penalties mentioned therein could be made more stringent,” the NBA said in its affidavit in the top court.
The independent self-regulatory mechanism thus will be empowered to entertain complaints against all broadcasters, whether members of NBA or not, and its order would be binding and enforceable on all news broadcasters, it said.
The affidavit has been filed in the case pertaining to the broadcast of the remaining five episodes of Sudarshan News’ programme series “Bindas Bol” with the tagline “UPSC Jehad”. The news channel has claimed the programme is an outcome of investigative journalism, which focuses on how Muslims have “infiltrated” the Indian civil service.
The Supreme Court will hear the matter on Monday.
On Friday, a bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said that the NBA is “toothless”, as it can merely impose a monetary fine of Rs 1 lakh maximum, and sought some suggestions to give it some teeth to act against TV channels violating programme codes.
Against the backdrop of the situation that not all news broadcasters come within its jurisdiction, the NBA said: “The NBA Code of Ethics should be included under Rule 6 of the ‘Programme Code’ of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994 (CTN Rules) by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to make Code of Ethics binding on all news broadcasters, irrespective of membership of NBA.”
The affidavit said the amenability to the NBSA mechanism should be made a term of the uplinking/downlinking permission of the news channel.
The NBSA is currently headed by retired Supreme Court judge A.K. Sikri.