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General News NBSA issues four orders against five news channels on 30 May
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MUMBAI: The News Broadcasters Standards Authority (NBSA) has passed four orders on 30 May after receiving complaints against News Nation, Republic TV, Times Now, Aaj Tak, and India Today Television.

News Nation has been accused of running objectionable/baseless/false news against National Heart Institute, New Delhi. The ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) had forwarded the complaint to the NBSA.

The Popular Front of India (PFI) had filed complaints against Republic TV, Times Now, Aaj Tak and India Today TV for their alleged misleading reports. Both Republic TV and Times Now had run programmes alleging that PFI had terror links. Aaj Tak broadcast a report accusing PFI of Love Jihad. India Today, on the other hand, carried reports that the PFI will soon be banned by the Home ministry.

The PFI alleged that these reports were defamatory and brought disrepute to the organisation.

News Nation had broadcast a report on 27 November at 10.30 PM regarding treatment of a patient (Raj Rani) by the Institute. The complainant alleged that the anchor/video journalist of the channel had, without verifying the actual and correct facts, levelled a false and baseless allegation that the National Heart Institute had raised false and inflated bills and collected money from one of the relatives of the patient Mrs. Raj Rani (since expired).

It also stated that when a reporter of the channel visited their hospital on 27.11.2017 around 2.30 PM and enquired whether any such inflated bill had been raised, Mr. S.K. Shailly, its General Manager (Finance & Liaison) had clarified the issue in detail and categorically informed the reporter that no such bill was ever raised or claimed or collected as alleged by the relatives of the patient and had provided a copy of the original bill to the reporter.

After going the merits of the case, the NBSA directed the channel to air a regret prior to the commencement of the 8 pm news on 12.6.2018, air the following text (static) on full screen in large font size with a clearly audible voice-over (in slow speed) expressing regret for the said telecast on their channel News Nation by stating the following.

The text is as follows: “We regret that on 27.11.2017 at 10.30 pm we had broadcast on our channel News Nation a news report against National Heart Institute, East of Kailash, New Delhi, alleging overbilling and excess charging to patients. That was an incorrect report based on wrong information. The report was aired without proper verification of facts from the Hospital, thereby violating the principles relating to impartiality and objectivity in reporting and neutrality. We clarify that there was no intention on our part to bring disrepute to National Heart Institute, East of Kailash, New Delhi.”

The channel will also have to give written and signed version of the expression of regret on its letterhead to the complainant by email and registered/speed post with a copy to NBSA. Further, the video of the said broadcast, if hosted on the website of News Nation, or YouTube, or any other links, should be removed immediately and confirmed to NBSA in writing within 7 days.

It has to submit a CD containing the telecast with particulars of the date and time of the telecast, within one week of the telecast, as proof of compliance. After such CD and signed version of regret is submitted by the broadcaster, the matter will be closed.

In case of PFI’s complaint of media trial by Republic TV and Times Now, the NBSA also found that the telecast violated Sections (1) (2) and (3) of the Code of Ethics & Broadcasting Standards and Guidelines (1), (2) and (3) of Specific Guidelines Governing Reportage and Guidelines (4) and (6) of Specific Guidelines for Reporting Court Proceedings.

The authority directed both the channels to exercise more care and caution while reporting about matters pending trial/ investigation or in using objectionable hashtags in regard to such reports which may give an impression that the broadcaster is indulging in a media trial/prejudice against the person/ institution being reported upon.

NBSA also directed the broadcasters that the video of the said programme, if hosted, on website, YouTube or any website or any other links should be removed immediately and confirmed to NBSA.

In the case of Aaj Tak and India Today, the authority decided to close the complaints with a warning to the broadcasters to be more careful in describing persons/institutions with objectionable taglines.

It also noted that the scope of its enquiry being restricted to examining whether there was any violation of the NBA/NBSA Regulations and Guidelines, it would not be able to decide whether the documents relied upon by the broadcasters were bogus or fake, as alleged by the complainants.

It further stated that the complainants may have to approach the appropriate forum.

NBSA was of the view that even taking note of the sting operation and the material produced, the channels ought to have shown more restraint in using terms like “Desh Drohi”, “Love Jihadka Zaaher”, etc.

In the absence of any finding or declaration by a court or other competent authority, such descriptions may be considered to be objectionable bordering on violation of the NBA/NBSA Code of Ethics, Regulations and the Guidelines relating to neutrality and objectivity.

Source:
___________________________________________
Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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