Press Council of India (PCI)

NOV 22

Preliminary   > Polity   >   Institutions/Bodies   >   Government agencies

Why in news?

  • The Press Association has said there is an impending crisis in the Press Council of India (PCI) as the government has not yet appointed its new chairman even as the extended term of the incumbent chairman expired.

About Press Council of India (PCI)

  • The Press Council of India was first constituted in 1966 as an autonomous, statutory, quasi-judicial body under The Press Council Act, 1965 (later amended in 1978).

Composition:

  • The PCI consists of a chairman and 28 other members:
    • Two Rajya Sabha Members
    • Three Lok Sabha Members
    • Seven Working Journalists (other than editors of newspapers)
    • Six Editors of Newspapers
    • Three people with specialized knowledge on public life
    • One person who manages news agencies
    • Six persons in the business of managing newspapers.
  • The Chairman is selected by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha and a member elected by the PCI.

Functions:

  • Helping newspapers maintain their independence.
  • Build a code of conduct for journalists and news agencies.
  • Help maintain “high standards of public taste” and foster responsibility among citizens.
  • Review developments likely to restrict flow of news.
  • Provide training to new journalists.
  • Promote technical and other research areas related to news.

Powers:

  • The PCI has the power to receive complaints of violation of the journalistic ethics, or professional misconduct by an editor or journalist.
  • The PCI is responsible for enquiring into complaints received.
  • It may summon witnesses and take evidence under oath, demand copies of public records to be submitted, even issue warnings and admonish the newspaper, news agency, editor or journalist.
  • Decisions of the PCI are final and cannot be appealed before a court of law.

Limitations on the powers of the PCI:

  • The PCI has limited powers of enforcing the guidelines issued. It cannot penalize newspapers, news agencies, editors and journalists for violation of the guidelines.
  • The PCI only overviews the functioning of print media. That is, it can enforce standards upon newspapers, journals, magazines and other forms of print media. It does not have the power to review the functioning of the electronic media like radio, television and internet media.

PRACTICE QUESTION:

With reference to ‘Press Council of India (PCI)’, consider the following statements:

1. It is a statutory body

2. PCI includes members from Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer