The Self Regulatory Authority issues its first order

BY Anubhuti Vishnoy| IN Media Practice | 10/04/2009
The complainant, Farhana Ali, a writer, lecturer and policy analyst, had alleged that India TV had misused an interview she had given to Reuters news agency.
ANUBHUTI VISHNOI reports in the Indian Express



                   Reprinted from the Indian Express April 10, 2009


The News Broadcasters’ Association, (NBA) a self-regulatory authority headed by former Chief Justice J S Verma, issued its first-ever order on Thursday, slapping a Rs 1-lakh fine on India TV news channel and asking them to run an apology on air. The authority took action on a complaint lodged by a USA-based policy analyst against the television channel.


The complainant, Farhana Ali, described as a writer, lecturer and policy analyst, had alleged that India TV had misused an interview she had given to Reuters news agency, by "deceptively dubbing" it in Hindi, a language she does not know or speak. She said this act was "factually incorrect, unethical and unjustified", a statement issued by the NBA said. The channel had run the said interview as part of its coverage of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.


Slamming India TV for violating the NBA’s "Principles of Self-Regulation and Specific Guidelines", the NBA Standards Dispute Redressal Authority expressed "strong disapproval" of the channel’s handling of the Farhana Ali story. It has ordered that India TV pay a fine of Rs 1 lakh to NBA within a month and run an apology as a ticker on any one day between 8 pm and 9 pm, five times with a space of 12 minutes each, stating that Farhana’s story was a "misrepresentation of facts".


This authority was formed by news broadcasters in October 2008 to create a self-regulatory mechanism and prevent any government intervention in the form of a proposed Broadcasting Bill and Content Code that would leash channel content.


While the stringent action taken by the authority against the channel may have dispelled doubts being raised about the self-regulatory mechanism’s efficiency, it is still to be seen whether such fines and strictures will be acceptable to the 31 news broadcasters who are part of the NBA.


In its defence, India TV said it had already aired a clarification on the issue after exchange of e-mails with Farhana. However, the NBA did not take this into account despite the channel submitting Farhana’s letter expressing her satisfaction with India TV’s clarification, the channel is learnt to have argued in its communication to the authority.


The channel has requested the authority to review its order in its next meeting.



The Hoot adds:



The NBA directions as carried on their website:


"(I) It records a strong "disapproval" of the acts and omissions in relation to the

subject broadcast made on India TV in relation to Ms. Farhana Ali;


(II) It directs M/s Independent News Service Private Limited Channel India TV

as under:

(a) To pay a fine of Rs. 1,00,000/- (Rupees One Lac Only) to the News

Broadcasters Association within 1 (one) month of receipt of this


(b) The broadcaster shall also, within 7 (seven) days of receipt of this

Order, run on India TV on any one day an apology/regret as a ticker

between 20:00 hrs. and 21:00 hrs., five times with a space of 12

minutes each, containing the following text:

"India TV apologizes for the story run on Ms. Farhana Ali in

December, 2008 since the same was a misrepresentation of

facts. Any harm caused to Ms. Farhana Ali is regretted."

 (c) To supply to the NBA a Compact Disc containing the broadcast of such

apology / regret with particulars of the time and date of broadcast ;


(III) The Authority further directs:

(a) the NBA to issue a press release within one week in this behalf

and to release the same to the Press Trust of India (PTI) and the

United News of India (UNI) and to other national dailies.

(b) the NBA to host the summary of these proceedings on its website

and to include such summary in its next Annual Report and also inform

the members of the NBA.

(c) To send to Ms. Farhana Ali a copy of this Order".





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