NBA asks PM to restrain PCI chief

News Broadcasters Association has asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to restrain new PCI Chief Markandeya Katju.

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.


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