In what may appear as a major setback to the ‘Lutyens’ media, the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has officially recognised the News Broadcasters Federation (NBF)’s self-regulatory body. Getting an official status from the MIB, make NBF the only institution of its sort in the country to get accreditation from the Government of India.
In a press statement, the NBF, which is already India’s largest body of news broadcasters in India, said that on being recognised by the Government of India, the body is set to build a robust system with the highest standards of transparency and accountability, and one that has set an unmatched precedent in the domain of news media vis-a-vis self-regulation.
Presently, NBF’s Professional News Broadcasters Standards Authority (‘PNBSA’) is the only body in India that has successfully demonstrated compliance with national standards in the domain of news media. This accreditation is another symbol of high professional standards and excellence with which the NBF and the PNBSA operate, read the statement.
Over 50 channels had formed an alternate regulatory body- the National Broadcaster’s Federation (NBF) in 2019 to challenge the hegemony of the National Broadcaster’s Association (NBA).
The NBF is a body that was set up to function independently from the NBA which has exercised a stronghold on broadcasting media since its inception. Until the inception of NBF, the NBA had the exclusive right to negotiate with the government and deal with all concerns relating to the broadcasting industry.
The founder members of the NBF included: Republic Media Network (Republic TV and Republic Bharat), Puthiyathalaimurai and V6 News (Tamil Nadu), Orissa TV (Orissa), IBC24 (MP and Chhattisgarh), Asianet News Network (Asianet News and Suvarna News, Kerala and Karnataka), TV9 Bharatvarsh, Newslive and Northeast Live (Assam and Northeast), First India News (Rajasthan), Kolkata TV (West Bengal), CVR News (AP & Telangana), Polimer News (Tamil Nadu), Khabar Fast (Harayana), Living India News (Punjab), Prag News (Assam), NTV (AP & Telangana), Maha News (AP & Telangana), TV5 News (AP & Telangana), MKTV (Tamil Nadu), Vanitha TV (AP & Telangana), DNN and IND24 (MP), Shri Sankara TV & Ayush TV (Karnataka), A1 TV (Jaipur), Power TV (Karnataka),Raj News (Tamil Nadu), Flowers TV (Kerala), CVR News Network (AP&Telangana), National Voice (Uttar Pradesh), Nirman News (Gujarat), Anaadi TV (MP&Chattisgarh), VRL Media (Karnataka), Calcutta News (West Bengal),News 7 (Tamil Nadu), DNN & News World ( MP & Chattisgarh), M H One ( Haryana), Mantavya News (Gujarat), Gujarat Television ( Gujarat), S News ( West Bengal) Bansal TV ( MP) and Onkat TV (West Bengal).
The NBF was formed to perform independently of the NBA (National Broadcasters Association) which till now had the sole monopoly of negotiating with the government and dealing with all issues concerning the broadcasting fraternity thus far. The board of directors has members only from a select group of channels that often peddle fake news and misleading narratives, including NDTV which not only peddles fake news but is also under investigation for financial irregularities.
Other than the lacking representation, the NBA also seems to be rather politically motivated and biased. When Republic TV journalist was manhandled by goons at a Jignesh Mevani rally, the NBA insisted that Republic TV apologises on air for referring to the goons as… goons.
For long, the NBA seems to have exercised disproportional power in negotiating with TRAI, other regulatory bodies and the government, with the minimum presence of regional channels. NBF has challenged that organisational supremacy by getting regional channels together.