At a time when the Supreme Court has indicated its intent to lay down guidelines for the media,Congress Lok Sabha member and a close aide of AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi,Meenakshi Natarajan,wants a law to regulate the media,both print and broadcast. And set up an authority that can even suo motu probe complaints against the media.
Natarajan gave notice in the Lok Sabha to introduce a Private Members Bill called Print and Electronic Media Standards and Regulation Bill,2012.
A first-term Congress MP from Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh,Natarajan is a member of Rahul Gandhis core team. She is also an AICC secretary.
Her proposed Bill seeks to provide for the constitution of the Print and Electronic Media Regulation Authority with a view to lay down standards to be followed by the print and electronic media and to establish credible and expedient mechanism for investigating suo motu or into complaints by individuals against print and electronic media,and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
Today,when her turn came to introduce the Bill,she was not present in the House.
According to procedure,she will now have to give fresh notice if she wishes to introduce the Bill,after which there will be balloting, which,simply put,is a draw of lots to fix a day for introduction of the Bill.
Despite several attempts,Natarajan wasnt available for comment.
Yesterday,a five-Judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of India Justice S H Kapadia said its attempt to frame guidelines for covering court proceedings was aimed at making clear the limitations of journalists under the Constitutional scheme.
The Editors Guild of India has told the apex court that laying down guidelines would endanger free speech and the court had no power or jurisdiction to do so.
Appearing for the Guild,senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan had told the bench: If a statute is brought,free speech and administration of justice will be at peril. We have not developed sufficiently rich jurisprudence on the question of balancing the media rights against other rights. The shadow of contempt law hangs over our jurisprudence.