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Use gender-neutral language, don't sensationalise distress: New guidelines on LGBTQIA+ coverage issued

The ‘Specific Guidelines for Reportage on Issues Concerning the LGBTQIA+’ was issued by the News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA), saying that non-sensitive and inaccurate reporting regarding the community has “serious social repercussions”.
Last Updated 01 March 2024, 09:42 IST

Broadcasters should refrain from promoting homophobia and stereotypes or publicising one’s gender identity or sexual orientation without consent, new guidelines on LGBTQIA+ community coverage by broadcasters said on Monday.

They are also advised to use inclusive gender-neutral language and respect individual’s preferred pronouns and names.

The ‘Specific Guidelines for Reportage on Issues Concerning the LGBTQIA+’ was issued by the News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA), saying that non-sensitive and inaccurate reporting regarding the community has “serious social repercussions”. The NBDSA is set up by the News Broadcasters and Digital Association, which represents private television news, current affairs and digital broadcasters.

According to the guidelines on reporting on LGBTQIA+ community, the guidelines said that reporting “should not sensationalise or create panic, distress or undue fear among viewers”. The broadcasters must avoid broadcasting any news which “perpetuates stereotypes or creates undue fear” in respect of the community.

Broadcasters “must refrain from using any expression or slurs” which may be construed as hate speech against the LGBTQIA+ community. While reporting about issues concerning the community, it said the broadcasters must ensure that reporting “does not promote homophobia or transphobia or negative stereotypes”.

Highlighting the 'Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards' that requires channels to not intrude in private lives unless there is clearly established and identifiable public interest, the fresh guidelines said broadcasters must respect the privacy of LGBTQIA+ individuals.

They should “not disclose” the personal information, including gender identity or sexual orientation of a person without their consent. It also noted that the Supreme Court has held that privacy is a fundamental right.

“Since news media has the most potent influence on public opinion, broadcasters while reporting on any member of the LGBTQIA+ community must endeavour to use inclusive and gender-neutral language, respect the individuals' preferred pronouns and names,” the new guidelines said.

The guidelines also advised broadcasters that they must strive for diverse representation and ensure that voices from different segments of the LGBTQIA+ community are provided a platform to express their views as far as possible while reporting on any issue concerning them.

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(Published 01 March 2024, 09:42 IST)

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