Friday, July 30, 2010

Press Council report on 'paid news' syndrome

The Press Council Of India recommended and amendment to election laws today, to declare any payment for publication of news as a corrupt practice.One recommendation was to make The directions of the Press Council Of India Act binding on all newspapers. The council added that self regulation is the best thing, reports Daily News And Analysis.

Read the whole article on Miracle Of Democracy.


In a bid to check the phenomenon of paid news, the Press Council of India today recommended among other things amendment to elections laws to declare any payment for publication of news as a corrupt practice.

Since the election-time paid news syndrome undermines free and fair elections, it is recommended that the Representation of the People Act, 1951be suitably amended so as to declare any payment for the publication of news as a corrupt practice or an "electoral malpractice", a special committee of the council said in its recommendations.

The Council asked the Election Commission of India to set up a special cell to receive complaints about "paid news" in the run-up to the conduct of elections and initiate a process through which expeditious action could be taken on the basis of such complaints.

One of the recommendations favoured amendment to the Press Council of India Act to make its directions to the newspapers binding.This issue has been hanging fire for long and should be taken up by the government on a priority basis, it said.

The report recommended that the electronic media be brought under the Council's purview.

The Press Council of India should also be reconstituted to include representatives from electronic and other media houses,the report said.

Self-regulation is the best option, it said adding, however, that "self-regulation only offers partial solutions to the problem since there would always be offenders who would refuse to abide by voluntary codes of conduct and ethical norms that are not legally mandated".

It suggested that efforts should be made to educate the voters and differentiate between the doctored reporting and balanced and just reporting.

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