The Press Council of India (PCI) recently issued an advisory to the print media on ‘paid news’.
About the Press Council of India (PCI):
- The PCI was first set up in 1966 by the parliament on the recommendations of the First Press Commission under the chairmanship of Justice J.R Mudholkar.
- The present council functions under the Press Council Act 1978.
- It is a statutory, quasi-judicial body that acts as a watchdog of the press in India.
- It consists of a Chairman and 28 other members.
- The Chairman is nominated by a committee consisting of Chairman of Rajya Sabha, the Speaker of Lok Sabha, and one representative of the council member.
- The Chairman, by convention, has been a retired judge of the Supreme Court.
- The term of the Chairman and the members of the Council is 3 years.
- Primary Function: To check the media practice and to keep an eye on the freedom of the press.
- Other Functions:
- Helping newspapers to maintain their independence;
- Building up a code of conduct for journalists and newspapers according to high professional standards;
- Reviewing any development which is likely to restrict the supply and dissemination of news of public interest and importance;
- Reviewing such cases where assistance has been received by any newspaper or news agency in India from foreign sources, as referred to it by the Central Government;
- Providing facilities for the proper education and training of persons in the profession of journalism;
- Studying developments that may lead towards monopoly or concentration of ownership of newspapers and suggest remedies;
- It adjudicates the complaints either against the Press for violation of journalistic ethics or by the Press for interference with its freedom.
- The council shall have the same powers throughout India as are vested in a Civil court while trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.
- Every inquiry held by the council shall be deemed to be a judicial proceeding under sections 193 and 228 of the Indian Penal Code.
- The decision of the council is final and can not be challenged in any court of law.
Q1) What is the Press Council Act 1978?
It is an act to establish a Press Council for the purpose of preserving the freedom of the Press and of maintaining and improving the standards of newspapers and news agencies in India.