Former attorney general of India and eminent jurist Soli Sorabjee will now be an ombudsman for NDTV. A news ombudsman is a person who provides independent and neutral viewpoint about any piece of information which is being covered by the publication or news broadcaster.
Sonia Singh, NDTV's editorial director and president of the ethics committee, says, "Every day, we in the media face new editorial challenges regarding journalistic boundaries and we are delighted that Sorabjee will, with his unchallenged integrity, be able to provide much needed insight and advice."
In an official communiqué, K V L Narayan Rao, vice-chairperson, NDTV Group, says, "Sorabjee is an independent, highly respected, highly regarded legal luminary, with years of experience in handling issues relating to freedom of expression and freedom of the press and censorship. We are delighted he has agreed to be the ombudsman for NDTV."
NDTV states that this is the first time in Indian television that an ombudsman has been appointed by any channel. Sorabjee in his honorary position will be entirely independent from NDTV and will investigate any complaints viewers may have about its coverage.
Vikram Chandra, CEO and executive director, NDTV Group, adds, "NDTV has always been committed to the highest standards of integrity and balance in its news coverage and we have now decided to take that one step further by appointing an independent ombudsman who can adjudicate on any issues that may come up in the future."
Viewers can send in complaints and questions to www.ndtv.com/soli.
Sorabjee has had a distinguished legal career, having been appointed both solicitor general and attorney general of India, and has served a number of years in these positions. As a legal luminary, he has appeared and argued several cases of constitutional importance in the high courts and in the Supreme Court of India, relating to fundamental rights in the Indian constitution, particularly issues relating to freedom of expression and freedom of the press, censorship, independence and accountability of the judiciary and scope and limits of judicial review. He has also appeared and argued for the Government of India in the international court of justice at The Hague.
He was appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Commission as special rapporteur to report to the UN General Assembly on the human rights situation in Nigeria; he was appointed as personal envoy of the UN high commissioner for human rights to report on the human rights situation in East Timor and has been a member of the UN Sub-Commission on Promotion And Protection of Human Rights as well as a member of the National Commission to review the working of the constitution.
In addition to delivering several lectures on different aspects of constitutional and administrative law and in particular on freedom of press, independence of the judiciary, judicial activism, ethics in democratic societies, tolerance and democracy, Sorabjee also takes an active interest in music and literature, especially poetry and jazz.