Stating that both print and electronic media carried paid news on a large scale during campaigning for the Gujarat assembly polls, Press Council of India (PCI) chairperson Markandey Katju has said that the practice underlines the inefficacy of self-regulation by the country’s fourth estate.
“...largescale practice of paid news in the recent Gujarat elections has come to the notice of the fact-finding team,” the chairperson said.The PCI has appointed a fact-finding team to look into complaints of paid news and freedom of press violations during the Gujarat elections.
Stating that the Gujarat elections prove the ineffectiveness of self-regulation by the media, Katju said, “This also vindicates my plea for effective media regulation and punitive powers in the proposed media council for taking action against the delinquent media.”
The former justice also said that a report is being prepared by the PCI, and it would be given to the EC with a request that the election of candidates who indulged in paid news be cancelled. A similar action was taken against an elected candidate in the recent UP legislative assembly elections. A statutory body, the PCI governs the conduct of the print media in India. Of late, PCI has been seeking an enhancement of its powers by including the electronic and social media within its mandate.