GoM comments on PCI report on paid news still awaited

GoM comments on PCI report on paid news still awaited

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NEW DELHI: Even as the Group of Ministers studying the report of the Press Council of India on paid news is still to give its final report, statistics show no decline in the cases of allegations of paid news.

The Council received 11 complaints against 10 newspapers alleging cases of paid news during the current year 2011-12.

While eight of these complaints have been filed by District Election Officers in different regions, there is one complaint by a Member of Parliament and another by a worker of a political party.

In comparison, just two complaints were filed in 2010-11, and 17 complaints in 2009-10.In nine complaints, show-causes notices were issued by the Council and the matter s are pending.

Interestingly, both the complaints by the Member of Parliament from the Telugu Desam Party and the Congress worker are against the same newspaper - Saakshi. Other newspapers against whom complaints have been filed during 2011-12 are ‘Hindustan‘, ‘Dainik Jagran‘, ‘Prabhat Khabar‘, ‘Rashtriya Sahara‘, ‘Hindustan Times‘, ‘Poorvanchal ki Raah‘, ‘Dainik Aaj‘, ‘Dainik Udyog Vyapar Times‘, and ‘The Herald‘ of Goa. Thus, only two complaints have been filed against English newspapers.

The report prepared by a group constituted by the Press Council of India on the issue had initially been given out to the media as a short release, and the full report was uploaded on the Council‘s website only after a question had been asked under the Right to Information.The report has asked for more powers to the PCI deal with such cases, amendment of the Representation of People Act 1951 to make incidence of paid news a punishable electoral malpractice, and reconstitution of the Council to include members of the electronic and other media.

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