Press Council of India (PCI)

Context

The PCI was established under the PCI Act of 1978.

Aim:

  • It aims to preserve the freedom of the press and maintain and improve the standards of newspapers and news agencies in India.

Composition:

  • The PCI consists of a chairman and 28 other members.
  • The Chairman is selected by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha and a member elected by the PCI.

Functions:

The functions of the PCI include

  • Helping newspapers maintain their independence.
  • Build a code of conduct for journalists and news agencies.
  • Help maintain “high standards of public taste” and foster responsibility among citizens.
  • Review developments likely to restrict flow of news.

Powers:

  • The PCI has the power to receive complaints of violation of the journalistic ethics, or professional misconduct by an editor or journalist.
  • The PCI is responsible for enquiring into complaints received.
  • It may summon witnesses and take evidence under oath, demand copies of public records to be submitted, even issue warnings and admonish (warn) the newspaper, news agency, editor or journalist.
  • Decisions of the PCI are final and cannot be appealed before a court of law.
  • Limitations on the powers of the PCI: The powers of the PCI are restricted in two ways.
  • The PCI has limited powers of enforcing the guidelines issued. It cannot penalize newspapers, news agencies, editors and journalists for violation of the guidelines.
  • The PCI only overviews the functioning of print media. That is, it can enforce standards upon newspapers, journals, magazines and other forms of print media.
  • It does not have the power to review the functioning of the electronic media like radio, television and internet media.