Accountability in Electronic Media: An Analysis of Regulatory Mechanism with Reference to TV Reporting in India

Main Article Content

Ajay Kumar, Ashutosh Mishra


The reach and penetration of electronic media is enormous, having the capacity to make democracy a living reality for those who do not have access to the print media for want of literacy or otherwise, and giving them a sense of involvement in the process of governance. As per the union ministry of Information and Broadcasting, there were 867 permitted satellite TV channels functioning in India till the end of June 2018 in which around 50% were news channels. The total revenue of TV Industry has reached from around Rs 58,800 crore in 2016-17 to Rs 66,000 crore in 2017-18 registering 12.24% growth. The News Broadcasting Standard Authority (NBSA) is the only self-regulating body of the broadcasters of television news channels in the country set up by the News Broadcasters Association (NBA). 

This paper discusses the effectiveness of NBSA which adjudicates the matters related to only those news channels that are part of NBA. At present NBA has 27 leading news and current affairs broadcasters comprising 77 news and current affairs channels as its members and is entirely funded by its members.  NBSA administers the Codes of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards which have been voluntarily drawn by the NBA for its member broadcasters to demonstrate their commitment towards responsible broadcasting and to self-regulate themselves. The cases before the NBSA pertaining to the violation of Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards are adjudicated by its Chairperson and members. The present study is  Content Analysis of 365 complaints received by the NBSA in  five years(2014-15 to 2018-19) which were mainly pertaining to disclosure of the identity of sexual offence victims, sensationalism of facts by the channels, objectionable content, issues of morality, defamatory content, telecast of disturbing visuals, promotion of superstitions, showing armed forces in wrong picture,  telecasting any programme putting the security of defence personnel at risk, showing one sided story without carrying the version of other party etc. In 2014-15, the NBSA had adjudicated 53 complaints, in 2015-16 it received 59, in 2016-17 it got 63 complaints, 81 complaints it received in 2017-18 and a total of 109 complaints were adjudicated by the NBSA in 2018-19. All the complaints were analysed in present study and findings are presented in tabulation form with interpretation. The study also focuses on addressing the issues where the public has started criticising the profession of journalism for serving hyped, insensitive and misleading information. The study scrutinises that aspect of television reporting where serious questions are raised over its reports and to find out where the problem lies in the mechanism that regulates it.

Article Details