New Delhi: Citing complaints about paid news
in the ongoing Assembly polls in five states, Press Council of India Chairman Justice Markandey Katju on Monday warned all media
persons, candidates and election authorities of strong action
if they were found indulging in the malpractice.
"I have been receiving complaints from several quarters
that in the ongoing elections in five states, the malpractice
of paid news is widespread," he said in a statement here.
"A severe warning is given to all media persons,
candidates and the election authorities that strong action
will be taken against those indulging in this malpractice
which is a blot on democracy," he said.
The retired Supreme Court judge said the malaise of paid
news is "a threat to free and fair elections and it undermines
the foundation of democracy and shakes the people`s faith in
"This malpractice will subvert parliamentary democracy in
the country, unless ruthlessly stamped out."
He expressed happiness over the fact that the Election
Commission has already set up Media Monitoring Committees
"We request these committees to keep a strict watch on
suspected cases of paid news and report forthwith to the
concerned Election Commission authorities as well as to the
Press Council," the Press Council chief said.