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News Broadcasting & Digital Standards Authority


The News Broadcasting & Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA), a self-regulatory agency set up by news and digital broadcasters, has fined the Hindi TV channel News18 India Rs 50,000 for turning a news debate on hijab into a “communal issue” and not adhering to guidelines.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About News Broadcasting & Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA)
  2. Powers and Functions

About News Broadcasting & Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA)

  • The NBDSA is an independent body set up by the News Broadcasters & Digital Association (NBDA), which serves as a representative of private television news, current affairs and digital broadcasters.
  • It describes itself as “the collective voice of the news, current affairs and digital broadcasters in India.”
  • Funded entirely by its members, the NBDA has 26 news and current affairs broadcasters (comprising 119 news and current affairs channels) as its members.
  • Various senior members of Indian media organisations serve on its Board of Directors.
  • The body includes a Chairperson who is to be an eminent jurist, and other members such as news editors, and those experienced in the field of law, education, literature, public administration, etc. nominated by a majority of the Board.
  • To promote, protect and secure the interests including the right of freedom of speech and expression of the news broadcasters, digital news media and other related entities.
  • It shares developments in the industry with members, provides a space for achieving common goals and consensus and aims to protect all its members from persons carrying “unfair and/or unethical practices or who discredit the television news broadcasters, digital news media and other related entities.

Powers and Functions:

  • The NBDSA has to “lay-down and foster high standards, ethics and practices in news broadcasting, including entertaining and deciding complaints against or in respect of broadcasters”.
  • These standards mention a focus on objectivity, impartiality, maintaining discretion when reporting on crime against women and children, not endangering national security, etc.
  • The Authority may initiate proceedings on its own and issue notice or take action in respect to any matter which falls within its regulations.
    • This can also be through complaints referred to the Authority by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting or any other governmental body, or by anyone else via its website 
  • A “two-tier” procedure is in place for redressing grievances, where any person aggrieved by the content of any broadcast is required to first make a complaint to the concerned broadcaster and if they are not satisfied by the redress, a complaint can be filed before the Authority.
  • Those cases which have already been taken to court cannot be complained against.
    • Within 14 days from the date of receipt of a complaint, the Authority will issue notice to the concerned broadcaster to show cause why action should not be taken under the regulations.
  • An inquiry is held in which proof, documents, and people can be called in by the authority. If the complainant or the respondent does not get back to the Authority, the complaint can be set aside.
  • The NBDSA may, for reasons to be recorded in writing, warn, censure, express disapproval against and/or impose a fine upon the broadcaster.
  • It can also recommend to the concerned authority for suspension/revocation of the license of such broadcaster. The fine imposed by the Authority shall not exceed Rs. 1 lakh and such fine shall be recovered from the concerned broadcaster.

-Source: Indian Express

December 2023