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Press Council of India, functions and responsibilities

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  1. 1. Press Council of India (PCI) Dr. Mrinal Chatterjee
  2. 2. I I M C celebrates NATIONAL PRESS DAY
  3. 3. National Press Day is symbolic of a free and responsible press in India.
  4. 4. National Press Day: 16 Nov. <ul><li>This was the day in 1966, on which the Press Council of India (PCI) started functioning as a moral watchdog to ensure that not only did the press maintain the high standards expected from this powerful medium but also that it was not fettered by the influence or threats of any extraneous factors. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Press Council of India is unique <ul><li>Though there are several Press or Media Councils world over, the Press Council of India is a unique entity in as-much-as this is the only body to exercise an authority even over the instruments of the state in its duty to safeguard the independence of the press. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Why Press Council <ul><li>Recommending the establishment of Press Council the First Press Commission had concluded that the best way of maintaining professional ethics in journalism would be to bring into existence a body with statutory authority, of people principally connected with industry whose duty it would be to arbitrate. To this end the Press Council of India was established </li></ul>
  7. 7. The idea of Press Council <ul><li>The first Press Council known as the Court of Honour for the Press was set up in Sweden in 1916. </li></ul><ul><li>The idea gained quick acceptance in other Scandinavian countries, and later in other parts of Europe, Canada, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Today, the Press Councils or similar other media bodies are in place in more than four dozen nations. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Press Council of India (PCI) <ul><li>PCI is a statutory autonomous, quasi-judicial body created by an Act of Parliament </li></ul><ul><li>The Press Council of India was first constituted on 4 July 1966 under t he Indian Press Council Act, 1965, on the recommendations of the first Press Commission(1954) with Justice J.R. Mudhlkar, then a judge of the Supreme Court as the Chairman. It started functioning from 16 November 1966. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Objective <ul><li>PCI was set up with the twin object of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Preserving the freedom of the Press </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maintaining and improving the standards of newspapers and news agencies of the press </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Function <ul><li>PCI acts as a watchdog of the press. </li></ul><ul><li>It adjudicates the complaints against and by the press for violation of ethics and for violation of the freedom of the press respectively. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Functions PCI is required to perform <ul><li>Help newspapers and news agencies to maintain their independence </li></ul><ul><li>Build up a code of conduct for newspapers, news agencies and journalists in accordance with high professional standards </li></ul><ul><li>To keep under review any development likely to restrict the supply and dissemination of news of public interest and importance </li></ul>
  12. 12. History <ul><li>The 1965 Act was repealed in 1975 and PCI was abolished during emergency. A new Act was enacted in 1978 more or less on the same lines as the Act of 1965 and the PCI was re-established under it in 1979 </li></ul>
  13. 13. Composition <ul><li>PCI is a body corporate having perpetual succession. </li></ul><ul><li>It consists of a Chairman and 28 other members. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Composition: Chairman <ul><li>PCI is headed by a Chairman, who has by convention, been a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. </li></ul><ul><li>Chairman,PCI is nominated by a Committee consisting of Chairman of Rajya Sabha, Speaker of Lok Sabha and a person elected from amongst themselves by the 28 members of the council. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Composition: Members <ul><li>Of 28 other members, 20 represent the press and are nominated by the press organisations/news agencies recognised and notified by the Council as all India bodies of categories such as editors, working journalists and owners and managers of newspaper. </li></ul><ul><li>13 represent the working journalists (6 editors; 7 other than editors) </li></ul><ul><li>6 owner/manager of newspaper (2 each representing big, medium and small newspaper) </li></ul><ul><li>1 from among the persons who manage news agencies </li></ul>
  16. 16. Composition: Other members <ul><li>5 members are nominated from the two houses of Parliament, two by the Chairman of Rajya Sabha and 3 by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha </li></ul>
  17. 17. Composition: Other members <ul><li>3 represent cultural, literary and legal fields as nominees of the Sahitya Academy, University Grants Commission and the Bar Council of India. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Period of service <ul><li>The members serve on the Council for a term of three years. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Funding <ul><li>The Council is funded by revenue collected by it as fee levied on the registered newspapers in the country on the basis of their circulation. No fee is levied on newspapers with circulation less than 5000 copies. </li></ul><ul><li>The deficit is made good by way of grant by the Central Government, through Ministry of Information and Broadcasting </li></ul>
  20. 20. Complaints Procedure <ul><li>If you have a complaint against a newspaper, for any publication which you find objectionable and effects you personally, or non-publication of a material, you should first take it up with the editor or other representative of the publication concerned. If the complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction, you may refer it to the Press Council of India. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Complaints Procedure <ul><li>The complaint must be specific and in writing and should be filed/lodged within two months of the publication of impugned news item in case of dailies and weeklies and four months in all other cases, along with the original/photocopy of the impugned clipping ( English translation if the matter is in vernacular ). </li></ul><ul><li>You must state in what manner the publication/non publication of the matter is objectionable within the meaning of the Press Council Act, 1978 and enclose a copy of your letter to the editor, pointing out why you consider the matter objectionable. His reply thereto or published rejoinder, if any, may also be attached to it. Declaration stating that the matter is not pending in any court of law is also required to be filed. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Complaints Procedure <ul><li>If a newspaper or journalist is aggrieved by any action of any authority that may impinge on the freedom of the press, he can also file a complaint with the Council. </li></ul><ul><li>The aggrieved newspaper or journalist may inform the Council about the possible reason for the action of the authorities against him i.e. if it is as a reprisal measure taken by the authorities due to critical writings or as a result of the policy that may effect the freedom of the press ( supporting documents, with English translation if they are in vernacular, should be filed ). </li></ul><ul><li>Declaration regarding the non pendency of the matter in any court of law is also necessary. </li></ul>
  23. 23. What happens then <ul><li>On receipt of a complaint made to it or otherwise, if the Council is prima facie satisfied that the matter discloses sufficient ground for inquiry, it issues show cause notice to the respondents and then considers the matter through its Inquiry Committee on the basis of written and oral evidence tendered before it. </li></ul><ul><li>If on inquiry, the Council has reason to believe that the respondent newspaper has violated journalistic norms, the Council keeping in view the gravity of the misconduct committed by the newspaper, warns, admonishes or censures the newspaper or disapproves the conduct of the editor or the journalist as the case may be. </li></ul><ul><li>It may also direct the respondent newspaper to publish the contradiction of the complainant or a gist of the Council’s decision in its forthcoming issue. </li></ul>
  24. 24. What happens then.. <ul><li>Similarly, when the Council upholds the complaint of the aggrieved newspaper/journalist, it directs the concerned government to take appropriate steps to redress the grievance of the complainant. </li></ul><ul><li>The Council may, if it considers necessary , make such observations, as it may think fit, in any of its decisions or reports, respecting the conduct of any authority, including Government. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Power of PCI <ul><li>For the purpose of performing its functions or holding an inquiry under the Act the Council exercises some of the powers vested in a Civil Court trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, in respect of the following matters, namely :- </li></ul><ul><li>Summoning and enforcing the attendance of persons and examining them on oath; </li></ul><ul><li>requiring the discovery and inspection of documents; </li></ul><ul><li>receiving evidence on affidavits; </li></ul><ul><li>requisitioning any public record or copies thereof from any court or office; </li></ul><ul><li>issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents; and </li></ul><ul><li>any other matter, which may be prescribed. </li></ul>
  26. 26. Address your complaints or inquiries to : <ul><li>The Secretary, Press Council of India, Soochna Bhavan, 8-C.G.O. Complex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi-110003 Email : [email_address] , [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Website: http://presscouncil.nic.in </li></ul>
  27. 27. Caveat <ul><li>PCI does not have penal power. Hence it is often called ‘toothless tiger’. Large newspapers often do not respect the dictates of PCI. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Should the institution continue? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Should it be provided penal power? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Only print media and news-agencies come under PCI. Television, radio and internet do not. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Should the scope of PCI be increased to cover television, radio and internet? </li></ul></ul>