Broadcasters reiterate their no to Govt-sponsored content code

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New Delhi, Aug 9 (UNI) Even as the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting today underlined that it was under increasing pressure from the society to bring in a content code for TV programmes, the broadcasters rejected any idea of Government interference in their job, saying the check has to come from within the industry.

''Instead of harping on the content code, why was the Government not doing other things like extension of CAS and digitisation, which were more in the interest of the public and the industry?'' the broadcasters said.

They were taking part in a discussion at the Second Indian News Television Summit organised by the Indiantelevision.com and inaugurated by Secretary, Ministry of Informatiom and Broadcasting Sushma Singh here.

Expressing concern over the fact that today all kinds of people without any credentials for launching a news channel, like constructors, builders and real estate developers, were vying with each other to do so, they urged the Government to put some check on the award of licence for that.

''The Governmeht should strictly scrutinise who are the people who are wanting to go into the TV news business,'' they said.

The broadcasters rejected the accusation that TV was dishing out only undesirable programmes, and claimed that that private broadcasters had in fact made news very intersting, drawing in those sections of population who were earlier not intersted in watching such progarmmes.

They, however, said they did not mean to say that there was no need of improvement in their programmes.

Some of them like TimesNow CEO Chintamani Rao said the commercial imperative was the most important for broadcasters, others like Rajdeep Sardesai of CNN IBN said boardcasters had to strike a fine balance between commercial interest and the journalistic norms and ethics. ''After all, the business of news is different from any other business, and its mainstay is integrity and credibility,'' he added.

President of the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) G Krishnan said. ''We are on a self-correction course, and have already submitted to the government a draft content code which has been drawn up after hard labour and in consultation with experts in the field of law and other related subjects,'' The content code drawn up by the industry would be made public within two to three weeks, he said.

''The Government should confine itself to only giving uplinking permission,'' he added.

Mr Krishnan said the news broadcasters were not oblivious of the need of airing the right content, but that was a job to be done by themselves and not by the Government.

Earlier, the Secretary had said the Ministry was surprised by reports that the news broadcasters had decided to oppose the Broadcasting Services Regulation Bill and the content code. She tried to underline that the Government had no intention of imposing anything but would go by consensus.

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