At a time when the role of the social media has come under scrutiny,the Press Council of India,a quasi-judicial body that oversees the functioning of print media,has asked the government to bring both social media and electronic media under its purview. It has argued that self-regulation is an oxymoron which has not worked.
The PCI,headed by Justice (retd) Markandey Katju,has suggested that after bringing both the electronic media and social media under it,the body should be renamed The Media Council.
In a resolution passed on Monday,the PCI has demanded that the Press Council Act 1978 be amended to bring the electronic media (both broadcast and social media) within the purview of the Press Council Act and rename it as The Media Council.
In recent times,experience has shown that the unregulated electronic media is playing havoc with the lives of the people. An example is what happened to the people of Northeast. Hence,the Press Council resolved that now the time has come when there should not be any dilly-dallying on the matter by the government,and the amendments to the Press Council Act… should be made forthwith, said the resolution.
In the past,Katju has spoken about the need to regulate the electronic media and wrote to the Prime Minister in this regard. This is,however,the first time that the PCI has passed a resolution demanding that social media be brought under its purview. All social activity has to be regulated. Regulation is different from control. In control,there is no freedom,while in regulation,there is freedom but it is subject to reasonable restrictions in the public interest, the resolution stressed.
The broadcast media is opposed to the move. … we are clear that the broadcasters come under the ambit of the I&B Ministry and thats the arrangement we prefer, said Sunil Lulla,CEO,Times Global Broadcasting Co Ltd.