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News Broadcasters ask Indian PM to restrain PCI's reach

India's Prime Minister Manomohan Singh has been asked by the News Broadcasting Association (NBA) to prevent the new Press Council chief Markandey Katju from extending his brief and commenting on areas outside his remit, according to India Today.

"We earnestly request you to intervene and request the chairman, Press Council of India, to engage himself constructively with print media matters, which is the mandate he has under the Press Council Act and not to exceed his remit and to exercise restraint on commenting upon areas which are outside his jurisdiction," the letter reportedly said.

The NBA – which has established the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) – has categorically rejected Katju's recent proclamation that the self-regulation of news channels in India is not working.

The association added the NBSA is headed by the former chief justice of India, J. S. Verma. Former Nasscom chief Kiran Karnik, economist and former UN undersecretary general Nitin Desai, former foreign secretary Chokila Iyer and sociologist Dipankar Gupta are the other members of the body.

Rather than broadening the remit of the Press Council of India to encompass TV and other electronic media, as per Katju's wishes, the organisation urged the prime minister to strengthen the self-regulation initiative. The NBA reportedly asked him to do this by: "persuading the Information and Broadcasting ministry to include the NBA code of ethics and the redressal regulations and various specific guidelines as part of the programme code under the cable TV rules".

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