NBF plans to form its own content self-regulatory body

MUMBAI: News Broadcasters Federation (NBF), an industry body formed by over 50 news channels, is planning to form its own self-regulatory body called the News Broadcasters Federation Authority (NBFA).

The decision to form NBFA was taken at a recent meeting of the members of NBF in Mumbai to decide on the critical issues involving content regulation and governance within the Industry.

In a meeting attended by over 30 top executives representing national and regional channels, a decision has been taken to form an ‘alternative standards’ organisation called the NBFA, aiming to bring in more transparent self-regulation on content. More than 50 news channels have come together to create a charter and a governance board for NBF.

The NBF has been formed as a rival body to News Broadcasters Association (NBA). The association has its own self-regulatory body called News Broadcasters Standards Authority (NBSA), which looks into content-related complaints.

The federation has decided to open-up memberships for TV channels and broadcasters from across India, starting 1st November 2019. “This is the first time in the history of Indian broadcasting that a group of regional and national broadcasters have come together to form a body that represents their combined interests and perspective on matters related to the news broadcasting industry,” the NBF said in a statement.

Another key decision taken by the NBF is that its upcoming Secretariat will be based out of the National Capital – Delhi, given the proximity to the Government Ministries, concerned Departments, and Industry Regulators.

The NBF noted that the meeting and finalisation of the agenda come at a time when the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is finalising a draft of rules and regulations to hold media accountable, including the proposed framework for online content and news.

“Significantly, the first formal meeting of the NBF also saw support pouring in from some distribution platform operators or DPOs, who also own television news channels,” it stated.

News Broadcasters Federation (NBF) was formed in July this year, bringing together 50 news channels representing broadcasters from all languages and all regions of India, making it the true representative of broadcasters across India.

The NBF will be governed by a Board of Directors, and four Issues-Specific Committees to be constituted among the members. The Committee on Public Policy will address the larger issues with various stakeholders including the Government of India, State Governments, Judiciary, and civil society organisations.

NBF aims to have a self-regulatory body – ‘News Broadcasters Federation Authority’, which will create new standards for news broadcasting and address any violation through a committee of editors from within the federation. The self-regulation mechanism will be led by a Chairman, and four independent eminent persons, and another four editors.

A structured Committee on Distribution will be formed in order to increase the consumption of news and expand the viewership of member companies both within India and outside. A Committee on Finance will also be formed to help member companies to strengthen liquidity through technology-driven solutions. NBF will also explore setting up other committees as and when the need arises.

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