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Rathore’s U-turn in Lok Sabha, says NBSA doesn’t exist

MUMBAI: In what may come as a major embarrassment to the Union government, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) has done a U-turn by denying the existence of the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA), a little over six months after acknowledging it as a self-regulatory body.

Rajyavardhan Singh RathoreThe NBSA is a self-regulatory body set up by the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) to look into content-related complaints against news channels.

While responding to a set of questions on 30 November on content violations by TV channels and whether the Press Council of India and NBSA were empowered to take note of such violations, Minister of State in the MIB Rajyavardhan Rathore said “no such entity [read NBSA] exists as per information available with the ministry”.

However, the minister’s response belies his own response in the earlier session of Parliament when he had acknowledged the existence of NBSA as a self-regulatory body for news channels.

Responding to a question from MK Raghavan in the Lok Sabha on 6 May, Rathore had said, “As part of self-regulation, the News Broadcasters Association (NBA)—a representative body of news and current affairs channels—has set up News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) to consider complaints against or in respect of broadcasters insofar as these relate to the content of any news and currents affairs broadcast.”

The volte-face, whether by mistake or by design, will come as a major embarrassment to the ministry, which had recently come under fire for its action against NDTV India.