India forms TV news regulatory body

NBSDRA hopes to avoid government regulation of industry

NEW DELHI -- The News Broadcasters Assn. -- an industry body consisting of 14 private broadcasters representing 30 news channels -- has established a new self-regulatory body, the News Broadcasting Standards Disputes Redressal Authority (NBSDRA).

The move, announced Thursday, is seen as a response to long-running debates over how TV content needs to be independently regulated without government involvement. If a broadcaster is found in violation of the code of ethics, the NBSDRA can impose a fine of $2,173 (100,000 rupees) and even suggest revocation or cancellation of a member broadcaster's license.

The nine-member NBSDRA committee will be headed by former Chief Justice of India J. S. Verma. Other members include editors of different news channels such as News Corp.'s Star India-run Hindi outlet Star News, in addition to renowned professionals from other vocations who will hold office for two years.

Making the official announcement, Verma said, "Since the television channels have agreed to the code, I am assuming that everyone will follow it."