The News Broadcasters Association (NBA) and National Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) on Monday urged the Bombay High Court against issuing directions, as sought by several petitioners, for formation of a statutory authority to regulate the electronic media.
The NBA submitted that the self-regulatory mechanism in place has been effective in redressing complaints against channels and all members have strictly adhered to its regulations with the exception of certain channels. The NBA submitted that an English language channel and a regional language channel did not want to abide by the NBA regulations and hence left the association and went on to form its own self-regulating authority.
The HC sought to know from the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) as to whether these two independent authorities have been formed to allow channels an escape route in case of any irresponsible and objectionable coverage and by invoking Article 19 (2) of the Constitution and seeking relief by approaching the court.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni was hearing Public Interest Litigations (PILs) by eight former senior police officers from Maharashtra, as well as activists, lawyers and NGOs seeking restraining orders against “media trial” in actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death case. After hearing submissions, the bench sought from Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, for MIB, to assist on a point of why despite existing guidelines for the ministry, it is sending the complaints to NBSA.
“Why isn’t the ministry looking into these complaints? Is it a loophole kept for channels to escape as they come to court stating that the orders of NBSA are not law under Article 19 (2) of the Constitution of India (reasonable restrictions on right to freedom of speech and expression),” the court asked. Seeking MIB’s response as to why no action had been initiated by the ministry in respect of complaints related to media trial in Rajput death case, the court posted further hearing to October 21.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines