NEW DELHI: The Press Council of India, the watchdog for print media in India, has informed its members that it has resolved to recommend to the Union government to make “suitable amendments” to the existing Press Council Act, 1978 “to include electronic media, news channels, e-papers, social media etc under one legislation”.
The letter, sent out to PCI members on September 29, says that the decision to recommend a ‘Media Council’ was in continuation of the council’s belief that “when the print media has a watchdog in the Press Council of India, in the opinion of the council, clearly, something parallel is advisable for the entire media”, including newspapers and periodicals in print or other form, e-newspapers, news portals, social media “and any other platforms of news dissemination besides electronic media (TV channels as also radio)”.
In this regard, PCI has said it has “resolved to convey to the Government of India the recommendations of the Council to enact a single legislation so as to include all the aforesaid media in line of the Press Council Act 1978”. A proposal to recommend the setting up of a Media Council has been under discussion at the Press Council since 2015, where it had pitched for the expanding its remit in light of the “spurt in electronic/online media platforms”.
Sources told TOI that the government is, however, working in the direction of an all-encompassing and convergent media council, discussions around which were also held during a meeting of the parliamentary standing committee on information technology on October 15. The meeting, proceedings of which were reported by TOI, saw submissions by PCI chairman, Prasar Bharati chief executive and I&B secretary, and is understood to have discussed the need for such a media council with sub-groups to manage different platforms.