The News Broadcasters Association (NBA) yesterday submitted before the Bombay High Court that no judicial intervention was required to issue guidelines for the electronic media as there was a functional self-regulation mechanism already in place. .The NBA added that of the self-regulation mechanism fails, then the Courts should step in to redress grievances..The submission was made during the hearings in the PILs filed against media trials in the wake of reportage on the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput..Senior Advocate Arvind Datar argued for the NBA yesterday before a Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Dutta and Justice GS Kulkarni..He that, "Judicial intervention is not required for regulation of the media channels because there is a self-regulation mechanism in place approved by the Supreme Court previously.”.Pointing out how there are non-statutory guidelines in place, Datar submitted that,.“I do not want the statutory remedy to take away my remedy with the Court. I am safer with the Court than with a statutory body. We have had scam after scam, but the Supreme Court has maintained self-regulation. What is bothering the Court is the media trial not the regulations.”Arvind Datar.Datar made three broad submissions in reply to the arguments made by Senior Advocates Aspi Chinoy and Devdutt Kamat earlier on behalf of the petitioners in case..Datar apprised the Court that the News Broadcasting Statutory Authority (NBSA) is chaired by Justice AK Sikri, retired Supreme Court judge. Therefore, it is a body capable on deciding on transgressions of fundamental rights under Article 19(1)(a), he argued. .Reference was also made to various orders passed by the NBSA on complaints received against reportage on the Sushant Singh Rajput murder investigation. He added that there were actions taken against each complaint including a fine of Rs.1 lakh..While the Court asked if a fine was enough to send out a deterrent effect, Datar asserted that, “... it was also an order against the repute of the channel. To come back with advertisements after being banned is a huge punishment.”.On being asked what would happenin if a news channel refuses to comply with an order of the NBSA, Datar added:."Most leading channels are members of the NBA and they comply with the order. It is self-regulation, it is like a gentleman's honour. Only Republic TV channel hasn't complied with order, they left NBA and formed News Broadcasters Federation (NBF)."Arvind Datar.He further added that "just because one channel refuses to comply with the NBSA orders and NBA guidelines, that does not mean this association is ineffective." .NBA orders are like black marks, which are taken note of by both advertisers and consumers, he added. .The High Court also queried the NBA on the procedure to manage a channel which leaves the NBA rather than comply with an order. Datar responded that in such an event, the channel was still under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. .Datar then turned to precedents from various courts to point out how the courts have approved self-regulation when it comes to the media so as to maintain their freedom of speech and expression. He added that any restriction beyond a point was always struck down..“Self-regulation is the norm, by and large in most democracies, there is no fetter on free speech and expression.”Datar remarked..Datar went on to propose that the Court may step in only once the self-reguatory provisions fail .“My proposition is if self-regulation fails the the court must step in", Datar said. .He proposed to the Court that it had jurisdiction to intervene against a broadcaster carrying out media trial invoking its powers under Article 215 of the Constitution, which is also the source of the contempt powers exercised by Constitutional courts (High Courts and Supreme Court). He added that the Court also has powers under the common law of contempt along with the statutory provisions of the Contempt of Courts Act..The phrase “administration of justice” should be interpreted as per the text and context of the situation, Datar added..He also relied upon a recent judgment of the Kerala High Court which held that the Court can intervene if the police and the media do not follow basic restraint while reporting on a criminal investigation..Read the law on admissibility of confessions before framing headlines and breaking news on sensational crimes: Kerala High Court to Media.Datar concluded his arguments by informing the Court of a pending plea in the Supreme Court to consider constitution a Broadcasting Regulatory Authority of India. .He submitted that the Court may consider subjecting the non-members to NBA’s jurisdiction, but should not take away the self-regulatory mechanism already in place.."Self-regulatory mechanism is preferred over statutory supervision. There is a reason Supreme Court has accepted self-regulation."Datar concluded..The Court asked the Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh to assist the Court in the next hearing on the question of why complaints are being forwarded to NBSA when the Centre has power to adjudicate over the complaint..The Court has also asked the ASG to present statistics on the instances where the Union Ministry had taken strict action against a broadcasting channel.."Is it a loophole kept for channels to escape when they come to court that the orders under NBSA are not 'law' under 19(2)?"Court asked, bemused..The ASG had pointed out in the previous hearing that the Central government is taking all measures to come up with a robust mechanism for electronic media that will also safeguard the freedom of speech..Media Trials case: Work ongoing to build a better mechanism while ensuring freedoms, Centre informs Bombay High Court.The matter will be taken up on Wednesday when ASG will reply on the queries of the Court. Thereafter. the remaining respondents will commence with their submissions..Correction: The story previously mentioned "National Broadcasting Standards Authority" previously. That has been corrected to "News Broadcasting Standards Authority".