New Delhi: The interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir have suggested a probe by an appropriate regulatory body to find out the sources of funding to newspapers functioning in the state.
"The sources of funding of newspapers are also a matter of unhealthy speculation. A thorough investigation carried out by the Press Council of India (PCI) can alone settle the issue," they said in their report made public yesterday.
The interlocutors have also sought involvement of bodies like the PCI or the Editors Guild of India to look into various allegations by the publishers and the government.
"Publishers have alleged that newspapers that do not toe the line are denied government advertisements. On the other hand, the government alleges that certain newspapers publish unsubstantiated stories and engage in a vilification campaign.
"Both these matters need to be investigated by a body like the Press Council of India or the Editors Guild of India," the report said.
It noted allegations that publishing houses inflate their circulation figures to indulge in malpractices and recommended a readership survey by the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) in this regard.
Besides, it found flaws in the role of a few journalists who "invented" quotes for their stories which created stumbling block for peacemakers.
"The role of the media, too, has been complex, combining positive peace support with mistruths that undermine peace initiatives. Barring a small handful of anchors and reporters, the national media have underreported conflict areas and tend to focus on moments of violence or recrimination.
"The local media, by contrast, have given far more attention to peace process developments but--as occurs routinely in conflict situations?-there are some amongst them who are selective in what they report and biased in favour of one or another political position," the report said.