Panaji, Oct 4 (UNI) Disposing a case against the New Delhi-based national daily Pioneer, the Press Council of India (PCI) today asked the media to observe journalist conduct to protect its own credibility.
It also observed that the readers have right to know all sides of any issue of public importance, which is a natural corollary of the freedom enjoyed by the press in a democracy.
Directing the Pioneer to publish gist of its adjudication in a case filed against the paper by the Union Ministry of Finance, the PCI observed ''It is, however, not just desirable but essential that to protect its own credibility, the press regulates and guides itself by the universally accepted most basic tenets of journalistic conduct.'' The PCI, which met here today under the chairmanship of Justice G N Ray, adjudicated 55 complaints of violation of norms of journalisttic ethics and threats to the freedom of the press. Of these, 11 cases were related to threats to the press freedom and the rest violation of journalistic ethics.
Referring to the Pioneer case, the PCI said the newapaper had faulted on two counts. First, its report lacked accuracy on some counts which were material to the story and the course of the investigation.
Second, when these errors were pointed out in the rejoinder, the omission deprived the complainant an opportunity to clarify the matter and establish its bonafide before the public.
''The press has to remember that it is not a prosecutor in any investigation and should be guided by the paramount principles of a person's innocence unless the alleged offence is proved beyond doubt by independent reliable evidence.
''And therefore, even within the constraint of space, the material facts should find space in the rejoinder so that the public, as the ultimate judge of any matter, is guided by the complete and accurate facts in forming its opinion,'' the PCI observed.
In another case, the PCI advised the Maharashtra government to constitute a Press Accreditation Committee in confirmity with the Moel Rules.
Adjudicating another complaint against two Madhya Pradesh-based newspapers, the PCI found that the ''writings against the complainant officer were motivated by business considerations.'' UNI