The Press Council of India was first established in the year 1966 the Parliament of India, recommended the first Press Commission. The object was to preserve the freedom of the press and for maintaining and improving the standards of the press in India. Presently, the function of the council is governed under the Press Council Act, 1978. It is a statutory, quasi-judicial body which acts as the watchdog of the press. It adjudicates the complaints against and the press for violation of ethics and for violation of the freedom of the press respectively.
- The objective of Press Council of India is to preserve the freedom of the press and of maintaining and improving the standards of the press in India
- It acts as the regulator that defines and discharge professional standards for the print media in India.
- It is considered as the most important body that sustains democracy and to ensure that freedom of speech is protected.
- It arbitrates the complaints against and the press for violation of ethics and for violation of the freedom of the press respectively.
Press Council of India (PCI) – Composition
- PCI has a Chairman
- Apart from the Chairman there will be 28 members.
The Composition of 28 Members in PCI are listed below.
- 2 Rajya Sabha Members
- 3 Lok Sabha Members
- 7 Working Journalists (other than editors of newspapers)
- 6 Editors of Newspapers
- 3 people with specialized knowledge on public life
- 1 person who manages news agencies
- 6 persons in the business of managing newspapers.
Press Council of India (PCI) – Appointment of Members
Chairman of PCI – Selection
The Chairman of PCI is selected 3 people, holding the following positions.
- Chairman of Rajya Sabha
- Speaker of Lok Sabha
- A member selected the PCI
Press Council of India (PCI) – Functions
- Making sure that newspapers are able to maintain their independence.
- Maintain high standards of news for public consumption.
- Keep a track on the developments that might obstruct the flow of information or news freely.
- Build a code of conduct for the journalists for high professional standards.
- Build a code of conduct for news agencies to maintain high professional standards.
- Provide training to new journalists.
- It works to promote technical and other research areas related to news.
Press Council of India (PCI) – Powers
- An editor or journalist can complain to the Press Council of India (PCI) about the professional misconduct or violation of journalistic ethics an editor or journalist.
- PCI is responsible for enquiring about the complaints it receives.
- It can summon witnesses, demand copies of public records.
- PCI can issue warnings, criticize the guilty, it could be journalist, newspaper, newspaper agency or editor.
- Decisions taken the Press Council of India is final and it cannot be appealed before a court of law.
Limitations of its Powers
There are 2 main factors that restrict the powers of the Press Council of India which are given below.
- It only has the power to enforce standards on the print media and has no powers to enforce standards on the Electronic media. Radio, television, internet comes under electronic media. Journals, magazines, newspapers etc come under the category of print media.
- While enforcing the issued guidelines, it has very limited powers. It cannot penalize anyone for violation of the guidelines.