‘NBA & NBF unlikely to have a clash of interests’

The newly formed News Broadcasters Federation wants to work with the MIB for several industry initiatives 

e4m by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Updated: Jul 30, 2019 8:21 AM

Broadcasters now have two bodies to get their concerns addressed - News Broadcasters Association (NBA) and the newly formed News Broadcasters Federation (NBF). 

But how will the two be different from each other? Will there be a clash of interest? 

Members of NBA have assured there will be no clash of interest because of the varying interests of both the bodies. The 35-member board of the newly formed NBF says the platform will allow regional broadcasters to be heard and have their issues addressed. 

“NBF is the biggest representation of broadcasters and has a heterogeneous mix of players from across the country to ensure that the voice of each and every player is heard. The new body will look into the concerns of regional players. We look forward to having them heard and resolved,” said Riniki Bhuyan Sarma, Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Pride East Group and owner of News Live.

A highly-placed source in the 35-member board of NBF listed the key priority areas of the body. “We want to represent with the MIB for industry initiatives for enabling global scale unicorns to emerge from India. We want to work with the government and industry to address the ‘talent’ issue arising due to rapid changes in technology, dynamics and scale of business. In collaboration with the government’s investigation or enforcement system, special programmes will be designed to address the growing menace of piracy in country. We also want to protect all our members from persons or entities who carry on unfair and/or unethical practices or who discredit the media sector.” 

The board, which enjoys the loyalty of regional players from across the country, is already working on gaining more prominence in the scheme of things in the Indian news industry. 

Chandra Baradhi, CEO, News 7 Tamil, said: “Quarterly reports as well as viewership numbers clearly show the upward trend of regional channels, and at a time like this we need representation. We have issues that need to be heard and resolved. For instance, a national channel and a regional channel have almost similar tariff on DTH platforms, while they work on completely different models and economies.” 

While some sources said that after weighing the scope of the new body some members of NBA have expressed their wish to join the NBF, others denied that there was such a development. 

A source told exchange4media: “I am not quite sure on the objective of this alliance. The major players aren't a part, and some channels are even on rented licence and some are not in the core news genre.  Let's wait and watch what this forum plans to achieve."

The NBF, which consists of players like Puthiyathalaimurai and V6 News (Tamil Nadu), Orissa TV (Orissa), IBC24 (MP and Chhattisgarh), Asianet News Network (Asianet News and Suvarna News, Kerala and Karnataka), TV9 Bharatvarsh, Newslive and Northeast Live (Assam and Northeast), First India News (Rajasthan), Kolkata TV (West Bengal) and many others, has the blessing of the ministry too. 

Talking about the new media body, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar has said: “I am very happy that more than 50 news channels have come together to form the News Broadcasters Federation These members of the NBF are from various regions and broadcasting in various states of India. India has more than 700 channels and if more associations are formed in genres like news, then it is a very positive development. We don’t believe in censorship but believe in self-regulation. I am very sure and confident that the News Broadcasters Federation will be a platform to discuss matters relevant to the TV News Industry. I also hope that NBF gives its recommendations and ensures discipline in broadcasting where truth does not become a casualty. I wish the NBF all the very best.”

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