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India TV quits regulatory body,alleges bias

A day after the News Broadcasters’ Association Standards Disputes Redressal Authority slapped a Rs 1-lakh fine against member...

A day after the News Broadcasters’ Association (NBA) Standards Disputes Redressal Authority slapped a Rs 1-lakh fine against member channel India TV for “deceptively dubbing” a US-based policy analyst’s interview,the channel is learned to have withdrawn from the authority.

Alleging bias by the NBA — a grouping of 31 news broadcasters formed in 2008 in the face of growing pressure from the government to regulate news content —India TV is learnt to have communicated its withdrawal to the body’s president,TV Today CEO G Krishnan.

The withdrawal of India TV from the NBA has delivered a serious blow to the body’s self-regulatory mechanism and has raised questions about its ability to ensure compliance to its ‘Principles of Self-Regulation and Specific Guidelines Covering Reportage’. India TV’s allegations of bias by the authority will also give ground to the government’s attempts to regulate broadcasting.

The NBA’s self-regulatory authority headed by former CJI Justice J S Verma had taken suo motu action against India TV after a complaint by one Farhana Ali,who alleged that the channel had misused an interview she had given to Reuters by deceptively dubbing it in Hindi,a language she does not know. She said this act was “factually incorrect,unethical and unjustified”. The said interview was part of India TV’s coverage of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. India TV,meanwhile,has argued that it had already issued an on-air clarification on the issue after e-mail discussions with Farhana Ali and to her satisfaction. It said that the NBA had not considered this.

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“The NBA Secretariat,under the presidentship of the channel head of TV Today group has become the personal fiefdom of the TV Today Group… we stood deprived of our invaluable right of personal hearing and representation through counsel,” India TV has written to Krishnan.

First published on: 11-04-2009 at 01:13:26 am
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