Keeping in mind the fundamental standards for telecast of Mumbai terror attack-like situation, the News Broadcasters Authority (NBA) on February 10, 2009, came out with a fresh set of specific guidelines focusing on impartiality, accuracy, fairness and neutrality while covering such incidents. The guidelines are being considered a step towards self-regulation by the broadcasters.
Expressing his view on the specific guidelines, Vinod Kapri, Managing Editor, India TV, said, “These guidelines are very good, and it was important to put them in place. What happened at Mumbai was a new situation for both media and the Government. This situation gave us our set of learnings and these guidelines have come in place because of the same. Indian media is responsible, and this is a significant step taken in the direction of self-regulation, wherein the media has agreed to abide by these guidelines.”
Agreeing on the same, Ashutosh, Managing Editor, IBN 7, said, “This is a welcome step. These guidelines are part of the earlier guidelines that were submitted when the NBA was formed. These specific guidelines are to fine tune part of the process of self-regulation. This also shows our intention and respect of public opinion.”
The guidelines decided during a meeting of the NBA, conducted by its Chairman, former Chief Justice JS Verma, say: news reporting should be done keeping ‘public interest’ in mind. Broadcasters, the new guidelines say, should exercise discretion and sensitivity while reporting on distressing situations.
The guidelines further state: “They should not disclose confidential information of operations involving national security. Broadcasters should also use discretion in reporting on operational methods used by perpetrators of serious offences against the State during the occurrence of the event. Also, live interviews with perpetrators should not be aired.”
Stressing on accuracy, the new rules say that information should be gathered first-hand from more than one source if possible. “Reports received from news agencies should be attributed and where possible be verified. Allegations should be reported as accurately as made. Errors of fact should be corrected at the earliest, giving sufficient prominence to the broadcast of the correct version of facts,” the guidelines say.