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NBA critical of fake stings; concerned about Government role in media

22-September-2007
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NBA critical of fake stings; concerned about Government role in media

The News Broadcasters Association (NBA), in a statement issued on September 21, has condemned the recent sting operation aired by Live India news channel. The NBA has unequivocally condemned any attempt by anyone to fabricate news and gain popularity at the cost of journalistic integrity. Such acts risked discrediting television news, and indeed the news media as a whole, it said.

The statement said that in acknowledgement of the responsibility of the press, a committee of editors of member channels of the NBA was framing guidelines for self-regulation for news and current affairs channels for implementation at the earliest.

The statement further said, “This does not mean that sting operations are wrong in principle. The NBA believes that sting operations are a legitimate journalistic tool and means of investigation, but like all-powerful tools they have to be used with care and responsibility.”

However, the association said that it would continue to question the role of the Government in media. The statement added, “Regrettably, the present instance is only the latest in a series of Government interventions in media content in the recent past, including several cases of suspension of licensed TV channels. In each instance, the key question left unanswered was how and by what process it was determined that there was an offence; and on what basis the penalty was determined.”

The statement added that a free and independent media was the cornerstone of India's powerful democracy, and that an elected government should support and strengthen that freedom.

“The NBA knows that with freedom comes responsibility, and respects the role of government in ensuring such responsibility. However, it also believes that to do so requires a transparent and codified process. Government intervention in news content without a transparent, codified process and basis is nothing short of censorship, and a threat to the freedom of the press -- and in turn to the health of the democracy,” said the statement.

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