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Indian industry slams MPs' call for clamp down on 'paid' TV news

The implementation of a media council to prevent 'paid news' on Indian television and in print proposed by a parliamentary committee has been instantly rejected by the industry in favour of self-regulation.

A media council, along with a revamp of the Press Council of India, would help keep check on 'paid for' editorial, which is still rife in the industry, the committee believes.

"With all due respect to the parliamentary committee, I beg to differ. I believe self-regulation is the best way forward," said Narayan Rao, News Broadcasters' Association (NBA) president & NDTV group CEO. "The late Justice Verma's committee has done a fabulous job in this respect. The mechanism of self-regulation has been working well over the years."

The NBA has placed an advisory on its website, along with a code of ethics for the broadcasting industry. "If there is any instance of paid news, we take very strict action against it," Ashutosh, editor-in-chief, IBN7 is reported as saying by IndianTelevision.

"Any form of regulation which is funded and undertaken by the Government, especially in the political system of India, is dangerous for a democracy," he added.

A high dependence on advertising revenue has been blamed by industry commentators for the prevalence of 'paid news', along with a defective television ratings system and lack of subscription revenues.

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