Press Council of India (PCI) chief justice Markandey Katju on Monday reached out to editors of leading news channels proposing formation of a joint committee which would work to protect the freedom of Indian media.
In a letter addressed to Broadcast Editors' Association (BEA) president Shazi Zaman and general secretary NK Singh, Katju said that the Committee could have an equal number of members from the PCI and the BEA.
"I suggest that a co-ordination committee be formed between the Press Council of India and the BEA consisting of 3 or more representatives of both bodies," Katju wrote in his letter.
Explaining why he thought that the formation of a joint committee was important, Katju said that the freedom of media was under threat in many parts of the country.
"Media freedom has of late been imperilled in many parts of the country, and we should jointly fight against this dangerous trend, otherwise the situation may grow worse," Katju wrote in his letter.
Katju also said that in many parts of India physical attacks had taken place against media persons, while in other places governments had pressurised the proprietor to sack or transfer journalists who write against them.
"I have been fighting for maintaining freedom of the media where it was threatened example in J and K, Maharashtra, Bihar, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, UP, West Bengal, etc," Katju said in the letter to TV editors' body.
In his letter, Katju clarified that "although the Press Council deals only with the print media, I have been fighting for freedom of the electronic media too example in Karnataka, J&K, Maharashtra, etc."
The PCI chief said that there were other issues relating to print and electronic media which also needed to be discussed.
Katju sought a speedy reply from the BEA to his proposal so that he could put forth the idea at the next meeting of the Press Council.
"If you can give me a reply soon I can place it in the next meeting of the full Press Council to be held in Lucknow from 26th to 28th March, and I am confident I will be able to persuade the Council to approve this proposal," Katju wrote in his letter to the TV editors.