The News Broadcasting Standards Authority, New Delhi has censured TV9 to pay a fine of Rs.1,00,000 and broadcast an apology in prime time both in English and in Telugu. NBSA has determined that TV9 has violated the following codes of ethics and broadcasting standards by publishing the story “Gay culture rampant in Hyderabad”
Clause 5: Sex and Nudity
Clause 6: Privacy
Clause 9: Sting operations
As per the order issued, NBSA took suo motu cognizance of the matter and issued a show cause notice dated 24/02/2011 calling upon the Broadcaster (TV9) to respond within 14 days. Upon receiving TV9’s response a hearing was held on 15/03/2011.
TV9 defended its story saying it had no intention of criticizing the gay culture but had sought to bring-out thorough investigative journalism that (innocent) people were being enticed to illegal and unlawful activities. TV9 also claimed the program was intended to warn society at large, and there was no privacy violation since the information used in the story (Photos, phone numbers etc..) was available to general public on a social-networking website.
TV9 also admitted the following :
“….TV9 believes it could have kept the image and the principles of the persons interviewed in a masked manner and by not revealing their true identities, TV9 feels it could have exercised better discretion”
Justice [Retd] JS Verma from NBSA dismissed all these claims by TV9 and called the story, a sensationalized depiction of Gay culture in Hyderabad and the story needlessly violated the privacy of individuals, with possible alternate sexual orientation. He also pointed out that alternate sexual orientation is no longer considered as a taboo or a criminal act.
NBSA also declared TV9’s claim that ‘information, images, phone numbers used in the story, is available to general public via the social-networking website’, as INVALID and pointed out that the information is available on the website, under a MEMBERS ONLY area and not on the public area.
TV9 has been directed to run an apology for three consecutive days beginning the Monday next, in prime time with the following text :
“TV9 apologizes for the story “Gay Culture Rampant In Hyderabad” telecast on this channel on 22 February, 2011 from 15:11 hrs. to 15:17 hrs. particularly since the story invaded the privacy of certain persons and was in violation of the Code of Ethics & Broadcasting Standards of the News Broadcasters Association. Any hurt or harm caused to any person thereby is sincerely regretted.”
In English : 15:00 hrs to 16:00 hrs
In Telugu : 20:00 hrs to 21:00 hrs
Click here to view the copy of the Order.
Update : Mar 30, 2011 – You can view the apology video, courtesy Allout.org here :
Thanks : Velu from Orinam.net for the input.