NBA opposes Media Council, asks PM to restrain PCI chief
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Last Updated: Thursday, November 03, 2011, 18:21
New Delhi: Opposing any move to set up a 'Media Council' to regulate media, the News Broadcasters Association has taken strong objection to the comments in this regard by new Press Council of India Chairman Markandeya Katju and asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to restrain him.

"We .. understand from statements made by Justice (retd) Katju that he has written to you on the subject of the formation of a 'Media Council', which suggestion you are considering," the NBA said in its letter to Singh. "We strongly oppose this move by the Chairman, PCI," the NBA said.

The Association said Katju has "vociferously aired his sweeping and generic views on diverse matters like reporting news, what, when and how news should be reported, and what should not be reported, the time given for reporting news and the intellectual calibre of journalists."

Katju's emphasis was on "how the media should be reined in and in particular the electronic media, even though the electronic media is statutorily beyond the remit of the PCI," the NBA complained to Singh.

In the letter, the NBA told Singh that it was "with distress that we are compelled to bring to your notice the unwarranted comments" of Katju.

"We earnestly request you to intervene and request the Chairman, Press Council of India to engage himself constructively with print media matters, which is the mandate he has under the Press Council Act and not to exceed his remit and to exercise restraint on commenting upon areas which are outside his jurisdiction," it said.

The NBA hoped that the government would not take any unilateral steps to regulate the electronic media. It pointed out that the electronic media had adopted a self-regulatory mechanism by setting up the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA), an initiative recognised by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

The I&B Ministry has even started forwarding complaints against non-members for consideration of the NBSA, it said, wondering how Katju had concluded the NBSA had failed. "If the Ministry at all believed that self-regulation had failed, evidently it would not have taken such a proactive step," the NBA said.

The NBA's reaction comes close on the heels of Editors Guild and Broadcast Editors' Association voicing similar views against Katju.


First Published: Thursday, November 03, 2011, 18:21

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