NUJ(I) Demands Statutory Media Council for Self-regulation of all Media
For favour of Publication, New Delhi, July 4 -- The news reports that the Central Government is drafting a legislation to regulate content in the Television channels have naturally raised concerns about the nature of that regulation and the institutional arrangement through which the regulation would be exercised. In the absence of a clear statement from the Government, the National Union of Journalists (India) dedicated to the maintaining of the freedom of the Press is apprehensive about the aim and content of the proposed legislation, as authorities tend to exercise control over the media under the guise of regulation.
NUJ(I) has been for long demanding Media Council as an independent self-regulatory body for the entire media including the print and electronic. This is especially urgent in the present anomalous situation where the print media comes under the self-regulation through the Press
Council constituted under an act of Parliament but the electronic media that has a larger reach is under no such restraint.
The NUJ(I) demands that the Government legislate to end this anomaly by constituting a Media Council to cover all types of news and views media through a process of self-regulation and a code evolved through involvement of all stake holders, more specially media bodies including media workers unions.
The Union cautions the Government against having dual regulators, one for the print media and another for the electronic one, specially in view of many print media companies transforming themselves into multiple media corporations. To allay all apprehensions and speculations in this
regard that could undermine the very idea of regulatory bodies, the Government must
come out with a clear statement of intent and purpose of the proposed regulatory legislation and launch consultation with all stakeholders in hammering out the nuts and bolts of the bill.
The NUJ(I) is willing to offer its vast experience in this self-regulation of the media to ensure that the proposed legislation is effective but not a cover for governmental interference in media freedom. We strongly believe that the right of the people to know the truth constitutes the bedrock of democracy and that this right should remain nonnegotiable but that any regulatory system could only be to seek to accommodate social and public sentiments and privacy concern within that larger framework.
(Dr N K Trikha)