India

media: Set up a council for all forms of media: Parliamentary panel | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The government should set up an all-encompassing ‘Media Council’ and give it statutory powers to check irregularities in all forms of media — print, electronic and digital, the parliamentary committee headed by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has said.
The panel, which has been discussing ‘Ethical Standards in Media Coverage’, tabled its report in Lok Sabha on Wednesday. In the report, the panel recommended setting up a media commission comprising experts, for wider consultations amongst interested groups and stakeholders, to build a consensus on how the proposed media council should evolve.
The report also pointed to the need for changes in the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, as per the deposition made to it by the secretary, ministry of information and broadcasting.
“The Press Council is a statutory body and is in existence for the print media but for the television there is no such statutory body. While the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) and the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) have developed as organisations, they are not formally recognised by the government. There are many channels that are not members of NBA. By amending the Act, a provision would be made that action on any complaint should be by rule instead of being by an executive order,” the committee said.
It also said that stakeholder comments to the proposed amendments to the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 are under the ministry’s consideration and that there is a discussion over having an umbrella statute for the entire broadcasting sector covering print, electronic and online media.
“The committee would desire the ministry to expeditiously look into making necessary amendments in the existing Cable TV Network (Regulation) Act, which is 25 years old, and needs changes in accordance with the changing regulatory environment, while ensuring that the grey areas in the interpretation and implementation of the said Act are duly addressed and also to ensure that the proposed amendments are consumer friendly. This will address the issues of stakeholders by bringing more transparency in the system,” the report said.
Among other things, the committee expressed concern over the “disturbing trend” of fake news, and, separately, asked the I&B ministry to pursue the law ministry for early implementation of certain recommendations of the Law Commission to make paid news an electoral offence.
“The committee has noted that ‘Media’ which was once the most trusted weapon in the hands of the citizenry in our democracy and acted as trustees of the public interest is gradually losing its credibility and integrity where values and morality are being compromised,” it said.
Until such time that the government establishes a larger ‘Media Council’, the panel asked the information and broadcasting ministry to consider expanding the existing regulatory framework to monitor e-newspapers.




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