News Broadcasters Association (NBA) said it is very disturbed at the turn of events in Mumbai as the clash between Republic TV and Mumbai police is posing a threat to the credibility and respect of two great institutions, the media and the police.
“We are deeply concerned that journalists working in the newsroom have become victims of this unfortunate conflict,” it stated in a press release.
NBA urged the government to immediately withdraw the CBI probe into alleged manipulation of Television Rating Points (TRP), saying the speed with which the investigation was transferred to the central agency overnight raises doubts about intentions.
In a statement, the news media body expressed serious concern at “the open-ended FIR registered by the Uttar Pradesh Police against the media for alleged TRP manipulation”.
“The speed with which the case was transferred to CBI overnight raises doubts about the intentions. A complaint filed against unknown persons by an individual who has no locus standi may lead to a witch-hunt against the media, its advertisers and advertising agencies,” said the NBA.
“We sincerely urge the government to immediately withdraw the case referred to CBI,” it added.
NBA which is a private association of different news television broadcasters in India, also said that it does not approve of the kind of journalism that is being practiced by Republic TV.
“And even though Republic TV is not a member of NBA and does not subscribe to our Code, we still take strong exception to cases filed against its editorial staff. We stand for the freedom of speech and expression of the media as enshrined in the Constitution of India. At the same time, we endorse the practice of ethics in journalism and put fair and balanced reporting at the core of what we report upon,” said the news media body, which is headed by Rajat Sharma.
NBA reprehends any attempt to target journalists doing their work in newsrooms but, on the other hand, it disapproves of any vengeful reporting by media.
“We condemn the reporting of baseless stories which subverts and interferes with the functioning of the law enforcement agencies,” it said.
The news media body has appealed to the Mumbai police to ensure that no journalists are made victims of this crossfire. It also urged to journalists working with Republic TV not to cross the Lakshman Rekha as clearly observed by the Bombay High Court.
It said: “News broadcasters are governed by the independent regulatory body, NBSA, headed by (Retd.) Justice A.K. Sikri. NBSA over the years has played an extremely important role in being a watchdog by monitoring content of news channels. It has acted against well known national and regional broadcasters by levelling fines, apologies and warnings in several matters including the coverage of the death of late actor Sushant Singh Rajput. We appeal that non member broadcasters be requested to follow the Code of Ethics and Guidelines of NBSA.”