After eight journalist bodies sought government intervention in the constitution of the 13th Press Council of India, the regulatory body on Monday countered the charges levied by the journalist bodies.
On Monday, PCI said in a statement that nominations for the new Press Council were “drawn from the panels submitted by all notified associations”. It also denied the allegations that the Chairman, PCI, Justice C K Prasad, had “adopted a process to keep out certain media associations”, calling them “utterly false”.
The eight journalist associations, which are members of the PCI, had in a joint statement on Saturday “expressed concern over the procedure followed by” Prasad and had said he had “overlooked precedence and adopted a process to keep out certain media associations and candidates”.
His actions, the statement said, have “cast serious doubts over the autonomy and neutrality” of PCI, which, it said, “is mandated to preserve and protect the freedom of the Press”. The chairman, PCI said Monday, “has no role in selection of the associations”.
“It was done by the Council by majority with the dissent of the Chairman,” it said. Therefore, the allegation that Prasad had deliberately adopted a process to keep out some journalist associations is “utterly false”, it added.
“It is emphatically stated that the Chairman has not inducted any names of his own and all the names nominated by him have been given by the associations,” the statement said.
If there is “any doubt” over autonomy and neutrality of the PCI, “the blame, if at all lies with the associations who have given the names of such persons,” the PCI said.