Press Council of Indian chairperson Markandey Katju has warned the Uttar Pradesh government for violating press freedom in various ways and acting "arbitrarily and in a vindictive manner".
Taking serious note of complaints from journalists in the state, Katju has written in a letter to chief secretary, UP: “Many complaints have been coming from the state of Uttar Pradesh that press freedom is being violated in various ways e.g. denying Government advertisements or accreditation of journalists to the newspaper/journalist which is critical of the government.”
"Denial of government advertisements and accreditation to deserving newspapers or journalists is often done to make them toe the line of the government. This in my opinion is wholly unconstitutional."
The PCI chief directed the state authorities to comply with the Model Rules of the Press Council for protection of journalists' rights and report the action taken.
"Delay in this matter is wholly unacceptable, and those responsible for it will be held accountable," he wrote.
Katju said that the Press Council of India has framed Model Rules for protection of journalists' rights. As per these rules the states should constitute Committees for grant of government advertisements and accreditation of journalists but such committees were absent in UP.
"It is deeply regretted that no such committees have been functional in UP, and often the government authorities in UP act arbitrarily and in a vindictive manner," Katju said adding that "the UP government has totally ignored the Model Rules of the Press Council."