The Press Council of India has cleared HT of charges of suspected paid news related to the assembly elections in Bihar in 2010. The council said in its notification it had accepted and adopted the report of an inquiry committee that looked into the matter.
“The inquiry committee was satisfied, on perusal of the newspaper that the reports did not qualify as instances of paid news and were simple reporting of events or analysis,” the PCI said.
“It therefore decided that Hindustan Times, Patna, should be absolved of the charges of suspected paid news,” it added.
Noting that the Election Commission, which had referred the reports to the PCI, had only made a general remark and not said anything about a payment for the reports, the PCI said that a censure had originally been awarded to HT in the absence of a written reply from the newspaper, which had later been placed on record.
The committee looked at the reports on merit in light of the written statement.
It considered four news reports titled “Paswan’s chopper cuts through dais, 8 injured”, “Patna road gets Nitish credit”, “Muslim mood divided in Saran” and “Nitish is our hero but his candidates are zero”.