Constitutionally mandated regulator suggested for media

Constitutionally mandated regulator suggested for media

Mediapersons, legal experts and civil society have suggested the setting up of a constitutionally mandated regulator to check "misuse and abuse" of the media in the country.

Some discussants also suggested establishing a consultative group for norms, conduct and ethics to monitor implementation by the media and to facilitate greater degree of coordination between government, media business and civil society.

They were speaking at a conference on "Media Regulation: Is Status Quo the Answer?" organised yesterday by Observer Research Foundation, a policy think-tank, and Hammurabi and Solomon, a leading law firm.

With increasing use of social media platforms, traditional media structures were facing a challenge to manage change in production, dissemination and reception of media content, they said.

Some participants stressed that there cannot be different sets of rules for TV, press and Internet.

It was noted that 30,000-odd channels on cable in the country are functioning without any oversight mechanism as the National Broadcasting Association (NBA) represents only a few important channels.

There was a need to look beyond the metro-centric discussion on regulation and look at the larger challenge of supporting higher standards of reporting and operations in regional and vernacular media.

It was also noted that unlike in many countries, in India the news content was not paid for, distorting the market of news broadcasting industry.

However, there was also a view that current structures were sufficient but there was a need to re-examine self-regulation, licencing, ownership and cross-holdings and the advent of the new breed of "owner-editors" and paid news.

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