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Content regulation: Nothing accepted beyond self regulation, say broadcasters

05-April-2010
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Content regulation: Nothing accepted beyond self regulation, say broadcasters

Issue of content regulation for news channels and the controversy over it is nothing new, what is new is the Government’s proposal of a 3-tier content regulation, where the first two tiers will be offered for self regulation, while third tier will be an independent autonomous body. After the advertisers’ views on this, exchange4media now brings the broadcasters’ reactions.

Rajdeep Sardesai of CNN-IBN, Arnab Goswami of Times Now and QW Naqvi of Aaj Tak refused to comment on this new proposal of the Government, saying that they still needed to go through this proposal.

According to Ashutosh, Editor, IBN7, “Self regulation is the best way and is working very well. In the last one year, many such things have happened that gave us the confidence to say that the industry has moved in the right direction. All editors and members of NBA are on the same page. BEA is also concerned about this topic and healthy conversations continue among editors. If any editor thinks that any news content or visual in any particular news channel is not appropriate, he can raise the question through email and in no time all editors come to a decision on what steps need to be taken in this regard. All editors are connected to each other and are confident that this process will move in the positive direction.”

Newsrooms are also operating with more responsibility on sensitive issues. Vinod Kapri, Managing Editor, India TV, said, “I have no doubt that self regulation has been effective. The change in the quality of news during last six months is evident. Now, editors in newsrooms talk to each other more often. This constant interaction has resulted in joint editorial decisions in producing more meaningful news, and at times to avoid some unwanted events from going on air.”

Supporting in-house regulation, Sanjeev Srivastava, CEO and Editor, Sahara News Media, commented, “We do need regulation, but it should be in-house regulation. Indian media is matured enough for self-regulation. What should go and what should not is being discussed regularly in every media house. Sometimes a few mistakes happen, but media is becoming more responsible and disciplined. Everybody in the industry is working towards a balanced system.”

On the other hand, the editor of an esteemed TV news channel commented that the Government wanted to have control over mainline media. The editor, who did not want to be named, said that the Indian bureaucracy was putting an all effort to dilute an Act like the RTI Act because the Government could not bear to have any step against itself. Same was the case with news channels. News channels would not accept any form of regulation, whether three tiers or five tiers. News channels were working well under NBA and self regulation was doing good a job. If the Government posed any kind of regulation on the broadcasters, it would be like strangulating the news media, he insisted.

He went on to say that if the Government really wanted to take stringent action, then it had got many legal powers. “Why doesn’t it use these powers? Imposing any form of regulation is an effort of dictatorship from the Government,” he maintained.

Also read:

Advertisers, media planners support Govt’s content regulation proposal for TV channels

Government likely to moot 3-tier content regulation for news channels

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