Strong unionism and journalist unity could check aberrations: PCI

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Panaji, Oct 5 (UNI) Strong trade unionism and unity among journalists for right cause could check aberrations in the media including the current trend of advertisements selling as news, according to members of the Press Council of India (PCI).

Interacting with UNI on a number of burning issues plaguing the journalists after the PCI had its last session of 3-year term, some of the council members urged the journalists to come out in open to voice their concern against the aberrations.

''Where is the real trade unionism in the media? Are they united to trigger debate on their own issues of concern including the contract system of employment?,'' they questioned the media persons.

They were reacting to queries whether the naked sale of advertisements as news in a section of Goan media, during the June 2 elections to the state legislative assembly had gone to their notice.

The PCI chairman Justice G N Ray however called for a wider debate on these and other issues, besides bringing them to notice of the Council, the process of reconstitution which had just begun to elect its 20-members, besides 8 others to be nominated by the government.

''Trivilisation and corporatisation with earning revenue as motive had eroded the credibility, which has to be restored with its own indulgence besides resistance from the readers through awareness campaigns. We, however, deprecate these deleterious tendencies in the Presss,'' Justice Ray said.

Though the PCI had no jurisdiction over the electronic media under the current law, the former had gone to the extent of helping the electronic media units threatened with dire consequences by the ULFA exremists in Assam.

''When an IAS officer dared to break the camera of a videographer, the PCI intervened to ensure that he was compensated to the tune of Rs 1.5 lakh by the very assailant recently,'' one of the members said.

The media, they said, should also try to project the positive developments in the society and the public sector units as much as the negative stories, for balanced information to gain more credibility.

The PCI, on an average, receives about 2000 complaints in a year and most of them gets adjudicated. They were related to complaints by the media against the government departments for denial of advertisements or other injustices and vice versa, and some by the public against the media units.

The PCI, they said, had its own budgetary and other constraints for immediate disposal of the genuine cases as it had depend on the hospitality of respective state governments.

Denying the charge that the PCI is a ''toothless tiger'', Justice Ray said the number of complaints it had been receiving had been on rise every year.

Most of the countries had been emulating the Indian model for regulating the media on the lines of the PCI, which depricates pre-publication censorship leaving it to the conscience of the media through a self-regulatory mechanism.

Media units should work on collective wisdom without somebody on top to penalise them for everything. The PCI is a corrective body for improving the performance of the press and continues from being insulated from influence.

At the same time, it is not strait jacket formation but always evolves on socio-politico-economic developoments and ethos, Justice Ray added.


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