Press Council of India (PCI) chairman justice Markandey Katju warned mediapersons, candidates and election authorities of strong action if they were found indulging in the malpractice of paid news.
“I have been receiving complaints from several quarters that the malpractice of paid news is rampant in the ongoing elections in five states,” he said in a statement here.
“A severe warning is given to all mediapersons, candidates and election authorities that strong action will be taken against those indulging in this malpractice, which is a blot on democracy,” he said.
The retired Supreme Court judge said the malaise of paid news is “a threat to free and fair elections” and it undermines the foundation of democracy and shakes the people’s faith in the media.
“This malpractice of paid news will subvert parliamentary democracy in the country, unless it is ruthlessly stamped out,” he said.
He expressed happiness over the fact that the Election Commission has already set up media monitoring committees district-wise.
“We request these committees to keep a close watch on suspected cases of paid news and report forthwith to the Election Commission authorities concerned as well as to the Press Council,” Katju said.