TV directive on Ash childbirth part of 5-yr-plan | delhi | Hindustan Times
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TV directive on Ash childbirth part of 5-yr-plan

Amid criticism of the manner in which the electronic media often goes about in its news coverage, the Broadcast Editors' Association has sent a directive to all its member channels not to go 'overboard' when Aishwarya Rai Bachchan gives birth. Sanjib Kr Baruah reports.

delhi Updated: Nov 09, 2011 01:45 IST
Sanjib Kr Baruah
Sanjib Kr Baruah

Amid criticism of the manner in which the electronic media often goes about in its news coverage, the Broadcast Editors' Association (BEA), an apex body of editors of TV news channels, has sent a directive to all its member channels not to go 'overboard' when Aishwarya Rai Bachchan gives birth.

"This is nothing new. We have been issuing such guidelines and directives for the last two years. The last Ayodhya judgment, cricketer Azharuddin's son's burial after a fatal accident...all bear the imprint of such guidelines," said NK Singh, general secretary, BEA, told HT.

"This is part of a five-year-plan to activate a proactive self-regulatory process. In another three years, Indian electronic media will be an example for the rest of the world with respect to balanced, hype-free, ethical coverage of news with serving public interest as a main motive," he added.

Interestingly, the self-regulatory effort by the Indian TV media is the only one of its kind in the world.

The BEA official also said that all members had agreed to such a plan after conscious deliberations keeping in mind, among other things, the privacy of individuals. BEA has over 40 members from across the leading TV news channels of the country.

The note on the coverage of Aishwarya Bachchan giving birth issued on Saturday, comprises 10 points, such as no OB coverage, no astrological predictions, no pre-coverage, etc. It is also seen an part of an effort to curb the often "over the board" reporting in the 16-year-old TV news media in India.

"No doubt there have been aberrations," admitted Singh.

The move is also expected to blunt down opposition to self-regulation. Recently, newly-appointed Press Council of India chief, Justice Markendey Katju, had remarked: "Self-regulation is no regulation." Katju had written a letter to PM Manmohan Singh suggesting that the electronic media should be brought under its (PCI) purview and should be given "more teeth".

"Those teeth would be used in extreme situations," Katju had said, prompting TV news broadcasters requesting the PM to rein in the PCI chairman as it amounted to curbing the freedom of the press — a constitutional right.