Coalition governments are weak: Katju

PCI chairman Markandey Katju said coalition governments were "weak" and not taking decisions to arm the media watchdog.

New Delhi: Press Council Chairman Markandey Katju today said coalition governments were "weak" and not taking decisions to arm the media watchdog with more powers and bringing the powerful electronic media under its ambit.

Katju said he has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking amendments to the Press Council Act, 1968 and has also met him in this regard.

"I have made my recommendation, but I don`t think the government is taking any decision," he told a press conference here.

He said similar recommendations have been made in the past too by various former chairpersons of the Council.

"...But nothing has come out of it as evidently, the electronic channels are very powerful and a coalition government means a weak government. If there has been a strong government, it would have done it...The ball is in the court of the government.
Katju said the two amendments proposed by him include more powers to the body as it currently has only powers to admonish and censure, "which is hardly anything."

The other amendment is to bring electronic media under the ambit of the Council.

On the issue of self-regulation by the electronic media, he said it was not always sufficient.

Katju also said that he does not agree with the government`s reported stand that self-regulation should be given a chance and said societies have learnt that laws are required where self-regulation fails.

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