Opinion divided as Katju wants restriction on journalists

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Katju Justice
Bangalore, Dec 6: In the recent times, media has come under scanner for their alleged unlawful activities. Taking a note on the issue, Press council of India Chairman Justice Markandey Katju advocated regulation on media to monitor their activities.

Katju on Wednesday, Dec 5 said that there should be a regulatory body for journalists on the lines of Medical Council of India and Bar Council.

Talking to reporters in Mangalore, he said, media was not above the law and media people should realise that no right can be absolute. "There should be a reasonable amount of restriction on media freedom. There is a need for regulation for media," he said.

Katju warned that any media group or media person who are involved in extortion and blackmail should face action.

Katju's comment referred to the recent arrest of two top editors of Zee News, who were accused of extortion by Congress MP Naveen Jindal. The bail pleas of two Zee News channel editors, arrested for allegedly trying to extort Rs 100 crore from Jindal's group firm for not telecasting reports linking it to coal block allocation scam, were dismissed on Monday by a Delhi court.

Metropolitan Magistrate Rajinder Singh dismissed the bail pleas saying Zee News head Sudhir Chaudhary and Zee Business editor Samir Ahluwalia have not given any new ground for their release on bail in the fresh application after dismissal of their first ones on Nov 28.

"Investigation is at a preliminary stage and there is no change of facts and circumstances since Nov 28 and the bail application had been dismissed by the duty magistrate earlier on Nov 28 and no fresh ground have come up to release them on bail. Hence, in my considered opinion, the bail (plea) is dismissed," the court said.

"The dismissal of bail application does preclude the accused from moving successive bail applications," it added.

Katju also warned media to avoid running after money and TRP rating.

"Media cannot serve the society if it goes after money and increasing TRP rating. If there can be Medical council for doctors and bar council for lawyers, why not for journalists," he said.

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