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Looking for a new code for news channels: Javadekar | India News

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NEW DELHI: The government is examining ways to strengthen the media regulatory mechanism as well as considering a new code of conduct for television news channels, I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Monday. Addressing a webinar on the occasion of National Press Day, Javadekar made it clear that while the government did not want to interfere with the media, some regulatory issues were under consideration by his ministry.
“Press freedom is being discussed again today and I said that the way press freedom is being attacked is not good… The Press Council of India (PCI) is another self-regulatory mechanism. Although the chief is appointed by the government, he has representatives from press owners, editors, journalists, photographers, and parliamentarians. But people are demanding more powers be given to the PCI. That is also being considered, ”he said.

Time view

The vice president’s words are comforting. But the real picture on the ground is quite disturbing and depressing. In recent months, state governments have summarily detained or arrested many journalists. Journalist Walter Lippman once said, “A free press is … an organic necessity in a great society.” Every democracy must remember that.

Noting the absence of a body similar to the Press Council to regulate television news despite referring to the National Broadcasting Standards Authority as an institution where “anyone can complain and even punish the wrong channels,” Javadekar said : “But there are many channels that are not even members of that … and they have no restrictions … Such a system cannot exist …”
He expressed similar concerns about digital and OTT platforms, which are not governed by any PCI-like system or formal self-regulatory mechanism.
The minister also said that the I&B ministry was looking for ways to strengthen the television rating mechanism, adding that the government never deliberately interfered with BARC as advertisers and broadcasters were on the same page. “Now the time has come when we have to interfere … How to kill the possibility of manipulation, we have created a committee for it, and will soon give a report on what is possible,” he said.
In a written message, President Ram Nath Kovind praised the mediators as front-line crown warriors who played an important role in educating people and mitigating the impact of the pandemic.
In a video message, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu condemned the attacks on press freedom and said that any such measure was detrimental to national interests. Naidu said: “Democracy cannot survive without a free and fearless press.” Naidu, however, added that the media must be fair, objective and accurate in their reporting.

Times of India

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