Press Council of India (PCI) chairman justice Markandey Katju has agreed to withhold the letter he had written to PM Manmohan Singh seeking punitive powers for the Council in a stormy session that witnessed four walkouts.
“Declaring he is no dictator but a democrat, he agreed to go with the members when they did not agree to many of his 22 suggestions," a member told HT on condition of anonymity.
The proceedings began on a stormy note when four members staged a walkout over Katju’s statement on the intellectual caliber of journalists.
“Before we could even take up the agenda, four members...demanded an apology...for my comment that majority of journalists were of poor intellectual levels. They threatened me with a walkout unless I apologised. On my refusal, they walked out," said Katju.
After the walkout, the meeting continued with the remaining 22 members as members Rajiv Shukla and Prakash Javadekar left early because of other engagements.
In a separate press release, the Indian Newspaper Society (INS) has said that four of its publisher members — R Lakshmipathy (Dinamalar), VK Chopra (Filmy Duniya), Sanjay Gupta (Dainik Jagran) and Vijay Kumar Chopra (Punjab Kesari) — strongly protested to the PCI chairman for his remarks on the media and journalists.
The executive committee of the INS “noted with dismay that the chairman's remarks demonstrated a deep bias against members of the Fourth Estate and that such bias would adversely affect the functioning of the council”.