Terming the broadcast media’s claim for self-regulation as “futile”, “meaningless” and “oxymoron”, the Press Council of India has written to the government to take steps to amend the existing law to bring the electronic and social media within its purview.
Seeking more powers for itself, the PCI said it should be renamed The Media Council.
“The Press Council was of the opinion that it is absolutely necessary now to do so in the prevailing circumstances of the country…,” the PCI said in a resolution passed in its meeting held on August 27.
It cited the recent incidents where social networking sites were used to spread rumours that triggered exodus of people belonging to northeastern states to justify its demand for expanding its jurisdiction. There should not be any “dilly-dallying” in the matter by the government, it said in a release on Tuesday.
The PCI has requested the government to initiate suitable legislation to amend the Press Council Act, 1978.
“Journalistic ethics apply not only to the print media but also to the electronic media, and hence there is no reason why electronic media should not be regulated by a statutory body, when the print media is regulated,” it said.
Ever since Justice Markanday Katju took over as PCI chairperson late last year, the print media watchdog has been clamouring for more power so as to enable it to have jurisdiction over the electronic media as well.
“When the Press Council Act was enacted, there was no electronic media, and hence there was no need for any legislation for regulating the electronic media,” the PCI said.
"Subsequently, the electronic media has come into existence. Journalistic ethics apply not only to the print media but also to the electronic media...," it added.