The News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) has held that a programme featuring a sting operation exposing sex trade aired by a Kannada news channel had violated guidelines and has asked it to air an apology.
In a statement issued here, the NBSA said that a complaint had been received against the broadcast of the programme on January 17.
In its reply, the said the programme was a classic case of investigative journalism.
It said that the programme had goaded the administration into action, leading to the arrest of persons concerned.
The channel also said that the programme had received the Ramnath Goenka Excellence Award in regional category for 2010 and added that the story did not contain any wrong information.
The NBSA said that they viewed the programme, response of the channel and also perused the scripts.
"It was clearly a sting operation according to the NBA Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards and Specific Guidelines. The question is whether this was necessary or was it possible to report and highlight the social evil without adopting deception," the NBSA said in its order.
"If the intention was to expose a social evil and to compel the public authorities concerned to take action to curb the evil, it was not necessary to resort to a deceptive sting operation and to give such explicit description of the activity. It was possible to activate the public functionaries by reporting these facts even otherwise."
The NBSA said that the channel should air an apology.
It also recommended that the I&B ministry treat the incident as a violation by the broadcaster at the time of renewal of license under Policy Guidelines for Uplinking of TV channels.