Caveat to news channels, demand raised for a comprehensive media council

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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Guwahati: With satellite news channels in the country attracting growing criticism over their content and slant of reporting as well as presentation, Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) has reiterated its long-standing demand for upgrading the existing Press Council to Media Council of India so as to bring electronic media and rapidly upcoming digital media platforms under its ambit.

The exclusiveness of news channels because of their availability in television sets (where digital outlets are still invisible) in millions of households across the country will not sustain for long as new technological advancement is making it possible to offer the same space for selected and exclusive news based portals with full audio-visual content.

Lately, both Reliance Jio and Airtel have revised their broadband plans, offering unlimited data (read around 3.3 TB per month) to their customers. Jio Fibre and Airtel Xstream Fibre are seemingly offering 100 GB data per day which should be plenty for an Indian household for data consumption.

Both the service providers are expected to offer hundreds of Indian news channels with sports, entertainment, educational, etc content related outlets. Even a number of news portals will be included in Jio and Airtel broadband plans to help them to showcase their content in television sets as well (without depending upon DTHs and cable operators).

“So it is high time to have a comprehensive Media Council armed with greater regulatory powers so that necessary guidelines can be formulated,” said JFA president Rupam Barua and secretary Nava Thakuria, adding that the largest democracy should not waste further time in recognizing the news channels and news related portals under the domain of Working Journalist Act (of India).

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