The Hindu, which keeps bragging about its (non-existent) journalism standard and ethics, has yet again displayed a sample of their mediocre journalism by first sensationalising a half-baked story, and later, after being called out, putting a small apology on 11th page of the paper.
On 30th November 2016, a group of MPs including Jyotiraditya Scindia and Asaduddin Owaisi asked a set of questions to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, relating to the actions taken on TV channels found violating rules. The last question from the same set was:
Whether the existing mechanism i.e., Press Council of India and National Broadcasting Standards Authority are empowered to take note of such violations and if so, the action taken by the Government in this regard and the steps taken to ensure freedom of press in the country?
To which, the Ministry replied, the last line of which is key:
On 6th December, Anuradha Raman from The Hindu, scornfully wrote an article headlined: Ministry has no news on TV standards panel
Twisting National Broadcasting Standards Authority to NBSA, the author confidently mentioned that
The response from Minister of State for I&B Rajyavardhan Rathore was as follows: “The PCI is a statutory, autonomy body set up under the Press Council Act of 1978. As regards, the NBSA, no such entity exists as per information available with the Ministry.”
To the casual eye The Hindu’s report seems to be on the ball, but a more careful reading would reveal how The Hindu twisted and played with words. Note that the question to the I & Ministry as well as its reply, mentioned a “National Broadcasting Standards Authority”. But, The Hindu’s report says the the Ministry had no clue about the existence of a “News Broadcasting Standards Authority”. Yes both the authorities can be abbreviated as NBSA, but the Ministry’s reply did not use any abbreviation and instead used the full form.
The ministry was correct in its reply. There is an entity called News Broadcasting Standards Authority, but there is no body called National Broadcasting Standards Authority. For whatsoever reason, The Hindu rather carelessly or with some malafide intent, interchanged the two, in its haste to depict the I & B Ministry as one run by ignorant fools, when it is quite clear that The Hindu might be run by such people.
Today, The Hindu has published an apology in some unnoticeable section of the newspaper, along with other “mistakes” committed by them.
Could they have avoided this misreporting? Surely yes, if someone had decided to a good job of it, or even simpler, just asked for a response from the I & B Ministry, which would have instantly let them know their obvious folly. Now here is the funny part. On the same day when The Hindu published this misleading article without asking for a response, one the elitist snobs from The Hindu, Suhasini Haider, mocked us by saying that we never asked for a response, when we had reported how the Greek embassy had slammed The Hindu for their misleading reporting.
Perhaps Suhasini Haider should implement these basic principles of journalism in her institution which has to print apologies every other day due to some or the other case of misreporting. We expect that one day The Hindu will upgrade its journalism standards. In any case, OpIndia.com will keep correcting their team.