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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Cong MP & Rahul aide moves for law to ‘regulate’ the media

Print and Electronic Media Standards & Regulation Bill,2012: Meenakshi Natarajan gives notice for Bill,isn’t present; will need fresh notice to bring it back

Written by Maneesh Chhibber | New Delhi | Published: April 28, 2012 2:44:01 am

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 Member’s 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 Gandhi’s 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 wasn’t 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.”

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