'Make All News Channels Duty-bound to Follow Our Directives': News Broadcasters' Association to SC
The News Broadcasters' Association (NBA) has requested the Supreme Court to officially give it a recognition so as to make all news channels, members or otherwise, duty bound to follow its directives and be liable to penalties.
It has also made a plea that amenability to its self-regulatory mechanism should be a condition for giving broadcasting permission to a news channel by the government.
Submitting its affidavit in the top court, the NBA has recommended ways in which the self-regulatory mechanism of News Broadcasting Standard Association (NBSA) can be strengthened. NBSA is currently headed by retired Supreme Court judge AK Sikri.
The affidavit by NBA has come in the wake of the controversy surrounding a show by Sudarshan TV on entry of Muslims in civil services.
A bench, headed by Justice DY Chandrachud, had on Friday sought suggestions from the NBA on giving it "some teeth" so that it could act against the TV channels violating programme codes or broadcasting something in bad taste.
In its affidavit, the NBA has pleaded that its code of ethics should be given a statutory recognition by making it a part of the Programme Code under the Cable TV Rules so that these codes become binding on all the news channels.
It has added that irrespective of whether a channel is a member of the NBA or not, the Supreme Court should authorise its regulatory body, NBSA, the power to entertain complaints against all TV channels and issue appropriate orders.
The NBA has stated that the penalties, as existing under the mechanism, could be made more stringent by an order of the top court.
"Amenability to NBSA mechanism should be made a term of the Uplinking/Downlinking permission for news channels, and the orders made, if any, against any news broadcaster may be considered by the Ministry at the time of grant and renewal of such permissions," maintained the affidavit.
Earlier, the court wanted to know also from the Central government as to how it intends to empower the self-regulatory mechanism for news channels, pointing out divisive commentaries targeting one particular community cannot be allowed anymore.
Sudarshan TV, which has an injunction order against telecasting subsequent episodes of its contentious show, has also been asked to submit proposed changes in the programme to enable it resume the show. The Supreme Court will hear this matter on Monday.