New Delhi: To give more teeth to the media watchdog, government on Friday said it will amend Press Council of India Act to empower it to suspend accreditation of a journalist or editor and registration of a publication besides stopping advertisements if they abuse their independence.
"The government is considering amendment in the Press Council of India Act," Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said in the Rajya Sabha while replying to a resolution made by a member.
He said the amendment, which was in the draft stage, would empower the Press Council of India (PCI) to direct authorities in states to suspend distribution of a publication and government advertisements to it for a period up to six months.
Tewari said the proposed amendments include granting powers to the PCI to "suspend accreditation of journalist or editor for a period up to three months" and in case of non-compliance it may direct suspension of registration for a period of up to a fortnight.
He said amendments in the Act were to make it more adaptable to the changing times.
"We would like to ensure that this Act is made more effective so that it becomes more concurrent and adaptable to the times," Tewari said.
He said, "These are contentious issues and there is need for a consensus not only within Parliament but also outside".
Noting that there were mechanisms and frameworks within different sections, the Minister asked YS Chowdhary (TDP) to withdraw his resolution seeking formation of an independent and empowered regulatory authority capable of taking action against erring media. Chowdhary later withdrew his resolution on the Minister`s assurance.