Press Council Of India (PCI) - An Overview

The Press Council of India (PCI) is a statutory body created by the Press Council Act of 1978. It is the apex body for the regulation of the Print Media in India. It enjoys independence from the government. This article lucidly shares details on the composition of  PCI, its functions, powers and limitations.

Aspirants would find this article very helpful while preparing for the IAS Exam.

Press Council of India – UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here

Why Press Council of India is in News?

Recently, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has released new Digital Media Rules, Information Technology (Guidelines For Intermediaries And Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 which place certain responsibilities on the digital news publishers which included adherence to the code of ethics on the lines of norms of Journalistic conduct framed by Press Council of India and the Programme Code under the Cable Television Network Act. Hence it is imperative to know about the PCI for aspiring candidates. Know in detail about the new Information Technology Rules 2021 on the given link.

Aspirants should begin their preparation by solving UPSC Previous Year Question Papers now!!

To complement your preparation for the upcoming exam, check the following links:

Press Council of India – Important Facts

  1. The objective of Press Council of India is to preserve the freedom of the press and of maintaining and improving the standards of the press in India
  2. It acts as the regulator that defines and discharge professional standards for the print media in India. 
  3. It is considered as the most important body that sustains democracy and to ensure that freedom of speech is protected.
  4. It arbitrates the complaints against and by the press for violation of ethics and for violation of the freedom of the press respectively.

Also, read about the Over The Top Platform – OTT Platform in India on the linked page.

Press Council of India (PCI) – Composition

  1. PCI has a Chairman 
  2. Apart from the Chairman there will be 28 members.

The Composition of 28 Members in PCI are listed below.

  1. 2 Rajya Sabha Members
  2. 3 Lok Sabha Members
  3. 7 Working Journalists (other than editors of newspapers)
  4. 6 Editors of Newspapers
  5. 3 people with specialized knowledge on public life
  6. 1 person who manages news agencies
  7. 6 persons in the business of managing newspapers.

Press Council of India (PCI) – Appointment of Members

Chairman of PCI – Selection 

The Chairman of PCI is selected by 3 people, holding the following positions.

  1. Chairman of Rajya Sabha
  2. Speaker of Lok Sabha
  3. A member selected by the PCI

Press Council of India (PCI) – Functions

  1. Making sure that newspapers are able to maintain their independence.
  2. Maintain high standards of news for public consumption.
  3. Keep a track on the developments that might obstruct the flow of information or news freely.
  4. Build a code of conduct for the journalists for high professional standards.
  5. Build a code of conduct for news agencies to maintain high professional standards.
  6. Provide training to new journalists.
  7. It works to promote technical and other research areas related to news.

Press Council of India (PCI) – Powers

  1. An editor or journalist can complain to the Press Council of India (PCI) about the professional misconduct or violation of journalistic ethics by an editor or journalist.
  2. PCI is responsible for enquiring about the complaints it receives.
  3. It can summon witnesses, demand copies of public records.
  4. PCI can issue warnings, criticize the guilty, it could be journalist, newspaper, newspaper agency or editor.
  5. Decisions taken by the Press Council of India is final and it cannot be appealed before a court of law.

Press Council of India – Limitations of its Powers

There are 2 main factors that restrict the powers of the Press Council of India which are given below.

  1. It only has the power to enforce standards on the print media and has no powers to enforce standards on the Electronic media. Radio, television, internet comes under electronic media. Journals, magazines, newspapers etc come under the category of print media.
  2. While enforcing the issued guidelines, it has very limited powers. It cannot penalize anyone for violation of the guidelines.

Check out the relevant links provided below to prepare comprehensively for the upcoming Civil services exam-

  1. Social Media and Its Impact on the society
  2. Issue of Censorship in India 
  3. Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC)
  4.  GD Khosla Report (1969)

Consider the following Statements

  1. The Press Council of India is a statutory body.
  2. It adjudicates the complaints against and by the press for violation of ethics and for violation of the freedom of the press respectively.

Which of the following statements is/are correct?

A) Only 1

B) Only 2

C) Both 1 and 2

D) Neither 1 nor 2

Press Council of India – UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here

The above details would help candidates prepare for UPSC 2022.

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