Television

IT panel recommends MIB to restructure PCI to cover all types of media

The recommendation was part of the ‘Ethical Standards in Media Coverage’ report.

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Mumbai: Parliament’s standing committee on communications and information technology, headed by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has recommended the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) to set up a media council on the lines of the Press Council of India (PCI), with statutory powers over print, television and digital media platforms.

The recommendation was part of the ‘Ethical Standards in Media Coverage’ report which expresses concerns regarding the limited efficacy of existing regulatory bodies like the PCI and the News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA) in enforcing their decisions. This has led to the fourth estate “gradually losing its credibility and integrity.”

The report noted that while the PCI – a statutory body governing the print media - may entertain complaints and is empowered to warn, admonish or censure newspapers, news agencies, the editor or the journalist concerned, it does not have the power to enforce compliance. Its advisories are not enforceable in a court of law.

Similarly, while the NBDSA (a self-regulatory body for news broadcasting), has the power to fine, its jurisdiction extends to only those organisations that choose to be members of the News Broadcasters and Digital Association. Compliance with its orders is also voluntary.

Suggesting restructuring the PCI to cover all types of media, the panel said, “In view of the above, the Committee has opined that the MIB should explore the possibility of establishing a wider Media Council encompassing not just the print media but the electronic and digital media as well, and equip it with statutory powers to enforce its orders where required.”

The committee also recommended that pending a decision on the council, the ministry should look into the possibility of expanding the regulatory framework to monitor e-newspapers.

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