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Daksh (Student)     08 September 2010

DOES MEDIA TOO NEEDS A REGULATOR!!!!!

Dear Friends,

I have been keenly observing that post Mrs.Indira Gandhi not  only media has become a kingmaker in the political arena but lately it has become a major opinion maker as well. 

The unfortunate part is that the media is devided in power houses qua the industrialists, politicians, vested interests etc.

May I request your valuable inputs keeping in view the freedom of media as per constitutional provisions so as  to godge the various checks and balances, to eradicate the wrong notions and malpractice of selective, partisan or bullying/acting as a pressure group by the media.

Last but not least I do not have any personal grudge against media - the only objective of coming up with this thread is to be proactive in thinking aloud and coming out the best possible solution so as to remove the malice in the society.

Thanking you all in advance for a constructive discussion.

Best Regards

Daksh



 3 Replies

N.K.Assumi (Advocate)     08 September 2010

There are several Indian Press Acts passed since the British period resulting in Civil Disobedience and today we have this so called NORMS OF JOURNALISTIC CONDUCT PRESS COUNCIL OF INDIA  2005: One has to see whether these norms are followed or not and whether these norma are satisfactory or not.
NORMS OF JOURNALISTIC CONDUCT
PRESS COUNCIL OF INDIA
Edition 2005
Preface
Every profession functions by certain norms of conduct evolved by years of practice with
objective to improve its standards prevent its abuse and above all contribute to the society
and social development. There was a time when journalism was a mission. Soon it became a
profession and is now run as a full-fledged business activity like any other enterprise.
Journalism has expanded its role and activities and has also grown in power. Codification of
its work ethics is therefore an imperative need.
The Press Council of India, in keeping with its mandate to build up a code of conduct for
newspapers, news agencies and journalists in accordance with high professional standards,
has on the basis of its adjudications of cases from time to time, built up a code of
journalistic norms. Though these codes have emerged out of cases relating to print media,
the fundamental principles evolved in the process are as much relevant to radio and television
journalism.
The 2005 edition of “Norms of Journalistic Conduct” updates the Norms evolved since 1996
on the basis of adjudications and other pronouncements and cover to a large extent almost
every aspect of compulsions and compunctions in journalistic practice. An effort has been
made in this edition not only to divide the norms covering similar situation under one heading
for easy referencing, but also to provide a comprehensive access to subject specific
guidelines.
I hope that this 2005 edition of Norms of Journalistic Conduct will go a long way in serving
public interest and will prove to be of immense benefit to journalists, lawyers, judges and
general public alike.
K Jayachandra Reddy
Chairman
Press Council of India
Selected principles:
(Note: The Press Council’s Norms of Journalistic Conduct forbids discrimination by the
press against religions or castes. Below are several principles which outlaw reporting that
would increase communal tension or attack other religions.)
The fundamental objective of journalism is to serve the people with news, views,
comments and information on matters of public interest in a fair, accurate, unbiased, sober
and decent manner. To this end, the Press is expected to conduct itself in keeping with certain
norms of professionalism, universally recognised. The norms enunciated below and other
specific guidelines appended thereafter, when applied with due discernment and adaptation to
Collected by the All India Christian Council, www.christiancouncil.in Page 2 of 8
the varying circumstance of each case, will help the journalist to self-regulate his or her
conduct.
6. Right to Privacy
i) The Press shall not intrude or invade the privacy of an individual, unless
outweighed by genuine overriding public interest, not being a prurient or morbid curiosity.
So, however, that once a matter becomes a matter of public record, the right to privacy no
longer subsists and it becomes a legitimate subject for comment by the Press and the media,
among others.
Explanation: Things concerning a person's home, family, religion, health, s*xuality,
personal life and private affairs are covered by the concept of PRIVACY excepting where
any of these impinges upon the public or public interest.
ii) Caution against Identification: While reporting crime involving rape, abduction or
kidnap of women/females or s*xual assault on children, or raising doubts and questions
touching the chastity, personal character and privacy of women, the names, photographs of
the victims or other particulars leading to their identity shall not be published.
iii) Minor children and infants who are the offspring of s*xual abuse or 'forcible
marriage' or illicit s*xual union shall not be identified or photographed.
8. Recording interviews and phone conversation
iii) Intrusion through photography into moments of personal grief shall be avoided.
However, photography of victims of accidents or natural calamity may be in larger public
interest.
10. Newspapers to eschew suggestive guilt
i) Newspapers should eschew suggestive guilt by association. They should not name
or identify the family or relatives or associates of a person convicted or accused of a crime,
when they are totally innocent and a reference to them is not relevant to the matter being
reported.
14. Right of Reply
i) The newspaper should promptly and with due prominence, publish either in full or
with due editing, free of cost, at the instance of the person affected or feeling aggrieved/or
concerned by the impugned publication, a contradiction/reply/ clarification or rejoinder sent
to the editor in the form of a letter or note. If the editor doubts the truth or factual accuracy of
the contradiction/reply/clarification or rejoinder, he shall be at liberty to add separately at the
end, a brief editorial comment doubting its veracity, but only when this doubt is reasonably
founded on unimpeachable documentary or other evidential material in his/her possession.
This is a concession which has to be availed of sparingly with due discretion and caution in
appropriate cases.
iv) Freedom of the Press involves the readers' right to know all sides of an issue of
public interest. An editor, therefore, shall not refuse to publish the reply or rejoinder merely
on the ground that in his opinion the story published in the newspaper was true. That is an
issue to be left to the judgement of the readers. It also does not behove an editor to show
contempt towards a reader.
17. Obscenity and vulgarity to be eschewed
ii) Newspapers shall not display advertisements which are vulgar or which, through
depiction of a woman in nude or lewd posture, provoke lecherous attention of males as if she
herself was a commercial commodity for sale.
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iii) Whether a picture is obscene or not, is to be judged in relation to three tests;
namely
a) Is it vulgar and indecent?
b) Is it a piece of mere p*rnography?
c) Is its publication meant merely to make money by titillating the s*x feelings
of adolescents and among whom it is intended to circulate? In other words,
does it constitute an unwholesome exploitation for commercial gain.
Other relevant considerations are whether the picture is relevant to the subject matter
of the magazine. That is to say, whether its publication serves any preponderating social or
public purpose, in relation to art, painting, medicine, research or reform of s*x.
18. (a) Glorification/encouragement of social evils to be eschewed
Newspapers shall not allow their columns to be misused for writings which have a
tendency to encourage or glorify social evils like Sati Pratha or ostentatious celebrations.
19. Violence not to be glorified
i) Photo Coverage on Terrorist Attack, Communal Clashes and Accidents
While reporting news with regard to terrorist attacks or communal riots, the media
should refrain from publishing/telecasting pictures of mangled corpses or any other
photographic coverage which may create terror, or revulsion or ignite communal passion
among people.
20) Covering communal disputes/clashes
i) News, views or comments relating to communal or religious disputes/clashes shall
be published after proper verification of facts and presented with due caution and restraint in
a manner which is conducive to the creation of an atmosphere congenial to communal
harmony, amity and peace. Sensational, provocative and alarming headlines are to be
avoided. Acts of communal violence or vandalism shall be reported in a manner as may not
undermine the people's confidence in the law and order machinery of the State. Giving
community-wise figures of the victims of communal riot, or writing about the incident in a
style which is likely to inflame passions, aggravate the tension, or accentuate the strained
relations between the communities/religious groups concerned, or which has a potential to
exacerbate the trouble, shall be avoided.
ii) Journalists and columnists owe a very special responsibility to their country in
promoting communal peace and amity. Their writings are not a mere reflection of their own
feelings but help to large extent in moulding the feelings and sentiments of the society at
large. It is, therefore, of utmost importance that they use their pen with circumspection and
restrain.
iii) The role of media in such situations (Gujarat Carnage/Crisis) is to be peacemakers
and not abettors, to be troubleshooters and not troublemakers. Let the media play their noble
role of promoting peace and harmony among the people in the present crisis in Gujarat. Any
trend to disrupt the same either directly or indirectly would be an anti-national act. There is a
greater moral responsibility on the media to do their best to build up the national solidarity
and to recement the communal harmony at all levels remembering the noble role they had
played during the pre-independence days.
21. Headings not to be sensational/provocative and must justify the matter printed
under them
i) In general and particularly in the context of communal disputes or clashes
a. Provocative and sensational headlines are to be avoided;
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b. Headings must reflect and justify the matter printed under them;
c. Headings containing allegations made in statements should either identify
the body or the source making it or at least carry quotation marks.
22. Caste, religion or community references
i) In general, the caste identification of a person or a particular class should be
avoided, particularly when in the context it conveys a sense or attributes a conduct or practice
derogatory to that caste.
ii) Newspapers are advised against the use of word 'Scheduled Caste' or 'Harijan'
which has been objected to by some.
iii) An accused or a victim shall not be described by his caste or community when the
same does not have anything to do with the offence or the crime and plays no part either in
the identification of any accused or proceeding, if there be any.
iv)* Newspaper should not publish any fictional literature distorting and portraying
the religious characters in an adverse light and offending the religious susceptibilities of large
sections of society who hold those characters in high esteem, invested with attributes of the
virtuous and lofty.
* change made on 16/12/04.
v) Commercial exploitation of the name of prophets, seers or deities is repugnant to
journalistic ethics and good taste.
vi) It is the duty of the newspaper to ensure that the tone, spirit and language of a
write up is not objectionable, provocative, against the unity and integrity of the country, spirit
of the constitution seditious and inflammatory in nature or designed to promote communal
disharmony. It should also not attempt to promote balkanisation of the country.
vii) One of the jobs of the journalists is also to bring forth to the public
notice the plight of the weaker sections of society. They are the watchdogs on behalf of the
society of its weaker sections.
36. Advertisements
iii) Newspaper shall not publish advertisements, which have a tendency to malign or
hurt the religious sentiments of any community or section of society.
Part B: Guidelines on Specific Issues
a) Norms for observance by the Press in the wake of communal disturbances 1969
Recognising that the Press which enjoys the utmost freedom of expression has a great
and vital role to play in educating and moulding public opinion on correct lines in regard to
the need for friendly and harmonious relations between the various communities and
religious groups forming the fabric of Indian political life and in mirroring the conscience of
the best minds of the country to achieve national solidarity, the Press Council of India
considers that this object would be defeated, communal peace and harmony disturbed and
national unity disrupted if the Press does not strictly adhere to proper norms and standards in
reporting on or commenting on matters which bear on communal relations. Without
attempting to be exhaustive, the Council considers the following as offending against
journalistic proprieties and ethics:
1. Distortion or exaggeration of facts or incidents in relation to communal matters or
giving currency to unverified rumours, suspicions or inferences as if they were facts and base
their comments on them.
2. Employment of intemperate or unrestrained language in the presentation of news or
views, even as a piece of literary flourish or for the purpose of rhetoric or emphasis.
Collected by the All India Christian Council, www.christiancouncil.in Page 5 of 8
3. Encouraging or condoning violence even in the face of provocation as a means of
obtaining redress of grievances whether the same be genuine or not.
4. While it is the legitimate function of the Press to draw attention to the genuine and
legitimate grievances of any community with a view to having the same redressed by all
peaceful, legal and legitimate means, it is improper and a breach of journalistic ethics to
invent grievances, or to exaggerate real grievances, as these tend to promote communal illfeeling
and accentuate discord.
5. Scurrilous and untrue attacks on communities, or individuals, particularly when this
is accompanied by charges attributing misconduct to them as due to their being members of a
particular community or caste.
6. Falsely giving a communal colour to incidents which might occur in which
members of different communities happen to be involved.
7. Emphasising matters that are not to produce communal hatred or ill-will, or
fostering feelings of distrust between communities.
8. Publishing alarming news which are in substance untrue or make provocative
comments on such news or even otherwise calculated to embitter relations between different
communities or regional or linguistic groups.
9. Exaggerating actual happenings to achieve sensationalism and publication of news
which adversely affect communal harmony with banner headlines or in distinctive types.
10. Making disrespectful, derogatory or insulting remarks on or reference to the
different religions or faiths or their founders.
Guidelines Issued by the Press Council for Observance by the State Governments and
the Media in Relation to Communal Disturbances 1991
i. The State Government should take upon themselves the responsibility of keeping a
close watch on the communal writings that might spark off tension, destruction and death,
and bring them to the notice of the Council;
ii. The Government may have occasion to take action against erring papers or editors.
But it must do so within the bounds of law. If newsmen are arrested, or search and seizure
operations become necessary, it would be healthy convention if such developments could be
reported to the Press Council within 24 to 48 hours followed by a detailed note within a
week;
iii. Under no circumstances must the authorities resort to vindictive measures like cut
in advertisements, cancellation of accreditation, cut in newsprint quota and other facilities;
iv. Provocative and sensational headlines should be avoided by the Press;
v. Headings must reflect and justify the master primed under them;
vi. Figures of casualties given in headlines should preferably be on the lower side in
case or doubt about their exactness and where the numbers reported by various sources differ
widely;
vii. Headings containing allegations made in statements should either identify the
person/body making the allegation or, at least, should carry quotation marks;
viii. News reports should be devoid of comments and value judgement;
ix. Presentation of news should not be motivated or guided by partisan feelings, nor
should it appear to be so;
x. Language employed in writing the news should be temperate and such as may
foster feelings or amity among communities and groups;
xi. Corrections should be promptly published with due prominence and regrets
expressed in serious cases; and
xii. It will help a great deal if in-service training is given to journalists for inculcation
of all these principles.
Collected by the All India Christian Council, www.christiancouncil.in Page 6 of 8
Guidelines Issued by the Press Council on January 21-22, 1993 in the Wake of the Ram
Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid Dis
Guidelines for guarding against the commission of the following journalistic
improprieties and unethicalities.
1. Distortion or exaggeration of facts or incidents in relation to communal matters or
giving currency to unverified rumours, suspicions or inferences as if they were facts and base
their comment, on them.
2. Employment of intemperate or unrestrained language in the presentation of news
or views, even as a piece of literary flourish or for the purpose of rhetoric or emphasis.
3.Encouraging or condoning violence even in the face of provocation as a means of
obtaining redress of grievance whether the same be genuine or not.
4. While it is the legitimate function of the Press to draw attention to the genuine and
legitimate grievances of any community with a view to having the same redressed by all
peaceful legal and legitimate means, it is improper and a breach of journalistic ethics to
invent grievances, or to exaggerate real grievances, as these tend to promote communal illfeeling
and accentuate discord.
5. Scurrilous and untrue attacks on communities, or individuals, particularly when
this is accompanied by charges attributing misconduct to them as due to their being members
of a particular community or caste.
6. Falsely giving a communal colour to incidents which might occur in which
members of different communities happen to be involved.
7. Emphasising matters that are apt to produce communal hatred or ill-will, or
fostering feelings of distrust between communities.
8. Publishing alarming news which are in substance untrue or make provocative
comments on such news or even otherwise calculated to embitter relations between different
communities or regional or linguistic groups.
9. Exaggerating actual happenings to achieve sensationalism and publication of news
which adversely affect communal harmony with banner headlines or distinctive types.
10. Making disrespectful, derogatory or insulting remarks on or reference to the
different religions or faiths or their founders.
e) Election Reporting-1996
i) General Election is a very important feature of our democracy and it is imperative
that the media transmits to the electorate fair and objective reports of the election campaign
by the contesting parties. Freedom of the Press depends to a large measure on the Press itself
behaving with a sense of responsibility. It is, therefore, necessary to ensure that the media
adheres to this principle of fair and objective reporting of the election campaign.
The Press Council has, therefore, formulated the following guidelines to the media for
observance during elections:
2. Election campaign along communal or caste lines is banned under the election
rules. Hence, the Press should eschew reports which tend to promote feelings of enmity or
hatred between people on the ground of religion, race, caste, community or language.
ii) Guidelines on 'Pre-poll' and 'Exit-polls' Survey-1996
The Press Council of India having considered the question of desirability or otherwise
of publication of findings of pre-poll surveys and the purpose served by them, is of the view
that the newspapers should not allow their forum to be used for distortions and manipulations
of the elections and should not allow themselves to be exploited by the interested parties.
Collected by the All India Christian Council, www.christiancouncil.in Page 7 of 8
The Press Council, therefore, advises that in view of the crucial position occupied by
the electoral process in a representative democracy like ours, the newspapers should be on
guard against their precious forum being used for distortions and manipulations of the
elections. This has become necessary to emphasize today since the print media is sought to be
increasingly exploited by the interested individuals and groups to misguide and mislead the
unwary voters by subtle and not so subtle propaganda on casteist, religious and ethnic basis
as well as by the use of sophisticated means like the alleged pre-poll surveys. While the
communal and seditious propaganda is not difficult to detect in many cases, the interested use
of the pre-poll survey, sometimes deliberately planted, is not so easy to uncover. The Press
Council, therefore, suggests that whenever the newspapers publish pre-poll surveys, they
should take care to preface them conspicuously by indicating the institutions which have
carried such surveys, the individuals and organisations which have commissioned the
surveys, the size and nature of sample selected, the method of selection of the sample for the
findings and the possible margin of error in the findings.
Part D: Press Council’s Powers, Practice and Procedures
The Press Council of India was first set up in the year 1966 by the Parliament on the
recommendations of the First Press Commission with the object of preserving the freedom of
the press and of maintaining and improving the standards of press in India. The present
Council functions under the Press Council Act, 1978. It is a statutory, quasi judicial authority
functioning as a watchdog of the press, for the press and by the press. It adjudicates the
complaints against and by the press for violation of ethics and for violation of the freedom of
the press respectively.
The Press Council is headed by a Chairman, who has by convention, been a retired
judge of the Supreme Court of India. The Council consists of 28 other members of whom 20
represent the press and are nominated by the press organisations/news agencies recognised
and notified by the Council as all India bodies of categories such as editors, working
journalists and owners and managers of newspaper and news agencies, five members are
nominated from the two Houses of Parliament and three represent cultural, literary and legal
fields as nominees of the Sahitya Academy, University Grants Commission and the Bar
Council of India. The members serve on the Council for a term of three years. No member
may serve on the Council for more than two terms.
The Council is funded by the revenue collected by it as fee levied on the registered
newspapers in the country on the basis of their circulation. No fee is levied on newspapers
with circulation less than 5000 copies. The deficit is made good by way of grant by the
Central Government.
Complaints Procedure
A person with a complaint against a newspaper, for any publication, or nonpublication
of a material, which he finds objectionable and which effects him personally, he
should first take it up with the editor or other authorised representative of the publication
concerned.
If the complaint is not resolved to satisfaction, he may refer it to the Press Council of
India. The complaint must be specific and in writing and should be lodged within two
months of the publication of impugned news item in case of dailies and weeklies and four
months in all other cases, along with the original/Photostat copy of the impugned clipping
(English translation, if the matter is in a language other than Hindi). It must state in what
manner the publication/non publication of the matter is objectionable within the meaning of
the Press Council Act, 1978 enclose a copy of the letter to the editor, pointing out why the
matter is objectionable. His reply thereto or published rejoinder, if any, may also be attached
Collected by the All India Christian Council, www.christiancouncil.in Page 8 of 8
to it. Declaration stating that the subject matter of the complainant is not pending in any
court of law is also required to be filed.
On receipt of a complaint made to it or otherwise, if the Council is prima facie
satisfied that the matter discloses sufficient ground for inquiry, it issues show cause notice to
the respondents and then considers the matter through its Inquiry Committee on the basis of
written and oral evidence tendered before it. Appearance before the committee is not
mandatory and a complaint may be processed on the basis of the written documents on
record. If on inquiry, the Council has reason to believe that the respondent newspaper has
violated journalistic norms, the Council, keeping in view the gravity of the misconduct
committed by the newspaper, warns, admonishes or censures the newspaper or disapproves
the conduct of the editor or the journalist as the case may be. It may also direct the
respondent newspaper to publish the contradiction of the complainant or a gist of the
Council’s decision in its forthcoming issue.
If a newspaper or journalist is aggrieved by any action or inaction of any authority
that may impinge on the freedom of the press, he can also file a complaint with the Council.
The aggrieved newspaper or journalist may inform the Council about the possible reason for
the action/inaction of the authorities against him i.e. if it is a reprisal measure taken by the
authorities due to critical writings or as a result of the policy that may effect the freedom of
the press (supporting documents, with English translation if they are in a language other than
Hindi should be filed). Declaration regarding the non pendency of the subject matter of the
complaint in any court of law is also necessary.
On being prima-facie satisfied of the admissibility of a complaint, the response of the
authorities is called for and inquiry conducted through the inquiry committee of the Council.
When the Council upholds the complaint of the aggrieved newspaper/journalist, the Council
directs the concerned government to take appropriate steps, to redress the grievance of the
complainant or records in observations regarding the conduct of that authority vis-à-vis the
freedom of the press.
Address for complaints or inquiries: -
The Secretary,
Press Council of India, Soochna Bhawan,
8, CGO Complex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi-110003
Phone: 24368726, 24366403
Fax: 011-24366745 (Extn. 224)
E-mail: pcids@vsnl.net
Website: https:/presscouncil.nic.in
Source: https://presscouncil.nic.in/norms.htm
Downloaded: August 3, 2007

Bhartiya No. 1 (Nationalist)     09 September 2010

People will regulate them, everything should go concurrently, it is we who will decide what is right or wrong.

Democratic Indian (n/a)     09 September 2010

Media is well known to create hype without investigating the real truth. In many cases they also serve the purpose of vested interests. People should not take everything of media or government at face value. They should also use their independent mind, logic and judgment. Your idea to have a Functional Regulator qua the media be put at place is highly dangerous to democracy in long run. Beauty of democracy lies in the freedom and liberty of people and not in curbing them under one pretext or color of "regulation" to curb the freedom of expression. The honest journalism will get curbed in that case. Example Tehelka etc. will start facing enormous problems on one hand and government chamcha media companies will have a merry time.It is the people who need wise and clever to figure out the truth and lies of government, media or any entity for that matter.

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