Broadcasters, editors condemn BJP move to boycott CNN-IBN

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New Delhi, Aug 2 (UNI) The News Broadcasters Association(NBA) and the Editors Guild of India today slammed the BJP for its decision to boycott the CNN-IBN and its affiliated channels if it did not telecast the tapes of the sting operation carried out on July 22, saying the move was a new threat to the freedom of the press.

In a statement here, NBA president G Krishnan said the step taken by the BJP was not in the interest of broadcasters and the media community, and set a bad precedent.

''Political parties must recognise that editors have the freedom to decide what to telecast and what not and cannot be subject to any interference. If it happens media organisation would lose its independence. A boycott of a network is not the way forward and suggests a new threat to the freedom of the press,'' he said.

The NBA suggested to the BJP to review its stand and avoid a situation of confrontation which was not in the interests of a harmonious relationship between political parties and media professionals.

The Editors Guild of India has also strongly condemned the BJP move. Its president Alok mehta and general secretray K Sachidanand Murthy said ''They were shocked at the pressure tactics being adopted by the Bharatiya Janata Party against CNN-IBN Television channel.'' They said freedom of an editor to publish or telecast any news item could not be subject to the approval or disapproval of any political party.

In the instant case, the editor of CNN-IBN, Rajdeep Sardesai had made it public that the investigation into the bribery case was incomplete and only if all the facts were authenticated, the channel would telecast the tapes, they added.

''The Code of Practice of the Editors Guild of India also exhorts editors to check and verify facts before publication or telecast. In a seperate development, the channel has voluntarily submitted the tapes to the Speaker, Lok Sabha, who has set up a Parliamentary Committee to investigate the allegations of bribing of three BJP MPs.,'' they said.

The Guild called upon all editors to resist such pressure tactics from political parties and leaders which infringe the freedom of the press, said the editors.

UNI NAZ GT RK1426

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