India

Want to ‘tighten up’ self-regulatory mechanism for news channels: SC

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Supreme Court of India. [File Photo]

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has extended the deadline for the News Broadcasters and Digital Association (NBDA) to revise its self-regulatory monitoring guidelines for TV news channels. The court, led by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, expressed a desire to strengthen this self-regulation mechanism.

It was noted that NBDA was consulting with its former and current chairpersons, Justice (retd) A K Sikri and R V Raveendran, respectively, to develop updated guidelines. The NBDA, represented by senior advocate Arvind Datar, requested a four-week extension for this purpose.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Government of India, mentioned that the government had already devised a three-tier mechanism, with the first tier being self-regulation.

Senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, representing the News Broadcaster Federation of India (NBFI), highlighted that NBFI was the only regulatory body registered with the Centre according to the 2022 rules, unlike NBDA. He also proposed that NBFI should be allowed to establish its own self-regulation rules

“We want the self-regulatory mechanism to be tightened up,” the CJI said, adding that suggestions and guidelines are welcome, PTI reported.

“We cannot sort out your ideological differences (NBDA and NBFI) here. We do not want this plea to get lost in the cacophony of rival organisations. We will see their regulations and then see yours as well,” the CJI said and fixed the plea for hearing after four weeks.

Earlier, the top court had found fault with the existing self-regulatory mechanism to monitor TV news channels and sought the GoI’s response, saying it wanted to make it “more effective”. The bench had made clear it did not want to impose any censorship on media.

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