Self-regulation is no regulation, Katju to media

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - 18:24

New Delhi: Dismissive about the self-regulatory mechanism proposed by the broadcast media, Press
Council of India Chairman Justice Markandey Katju on Wednesday
insisted they must come under some regulatory authority which
could be of its choice.

Katju said if TV channels did not want to come under the
Press Council they should choose another body like the
proposed Lokpal.

The former Supreme Court judge however made it clear he
was against use of "harsh measures" against the media.

"Powers must be there, either with me, I said I am not so
fond of power and you mention which regulatory authority whom
you want to come under because you dont like the Press Council
of India because the current Chairman is a very undesirable
and wicked person. You can say under which regulatory body you
want to come under like the Lokpal," he said.

He was initiating a panel discussion on `Media as an
Instrument of Public Accountability` on the ocassion of
National Press Day.

Justice(retd) Katju said if media says they will be
self-regulated then the same principle may apply for
politicians and bureaucrats too.

"There has to be some regulatory mechanism. You can`t say
there will be self-regulation, which means nothing. You alone
are saints and everyone is sinners? Then what is this paid
news, what is (Niira) Radia tapes and what is all these?" he
asked.

Strongly criticising the way panel discussions are being
conducted on television channels, Katju said they should be
held in a "disciplined manner" and that the event would set an
example.

He said he was against use of "harsh measures" against
media and that he would never support them.

"I have always been against (using) harsh measures
against media. Because media people are intellectuals they
should be persuaded if they go wrong. We should hold
discussions with them. That is the way of resolving things in
a democracy," the PCI chairman said.

Referring to Hindu Editor-in-Chief N Ram`s remarks that
"more teeth" should be given to the PCI, Katju said: "This
teeth will almost never bite. One has to understand my
philosophy. I believe that 90 per cent of the people who
commit mistakes can be reformed."

He also narrated a story of a saint asking a cobra not to
bite any human beings. But, one day, when he saw the cobra
being badly wounded, he asked it: "Why didn`t you bite them?".

The cobra reminded the saint that he had asked it not to do
so.

The saint replied, Justice Katju said: "I asked you not
to bite them, but why did not you show your fangs."
"Likewise I will show my fangs sometimes but this teeth
will almost never bite," the PCI Chairman said.

Justice Katju also narrated another incident to drive
home his point why a regulatory mechanism is needed.

"Shishupal (son of Kunti`s younger sister) committed 99
mistakes and every time Lord Krishna forgave him. But when he
did commit mistake the 100th time his head was chopped off...I
am not trying to equate myself with Lord Krishna," he said.

PTI




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