Hyderabad: The Press Council of India (PCI) has voiced concern over the trend of paid news coverage reported during the just-concluded general elections and set up a two-member committee to look into the matter.
The Council warned that promoting candidates in the media
for a payment could deal a double jeopardy to the Indian
democracy by influencing the functioning of the press and
free and fair elections.
The committee consists of well known journalists Paranjoy
Guha Thakurta and K Sreenivas Reddy, a PCI release said today.
The committee based on inputs received from members of
the Council and others will co-opt members from the media if
The PCI felt that in pursuance of the mandate given to
the council by Parliament it was incumbent upon the statutory
authority to examine the matter in its entire dimension through
studies and debates to maintain the faith of public in the
media and make appropriate recommendations.
"As a public utility service, the press exercises its
right to inform because the public has the right to know. The
press thus functions as a depository of the public trust to
convey to it correct and true information when such
information is being presented as news content," it said.
"There was thus an urgent need to protect the public`s
right to information so that it is not mislead in deciding the
selection quotient of the candidates in the fray," the
release added. The issue had also figured in Parliament.
The Council had received representation from a group of
senior journalists including Kuldip Nayar, B G Verghese, Ajit
Bhattacharjee and Achyutanand Mishra, Vice Chancellor
Makhanlal Chaturvedi Patrakarika Viswa Vidyalaya, Bhopal.