The Press Council of India (PCI) has found itself in the news a lot lately. Recent reports had claimed that the council had resolved to bring the electronic media – both broadcast and social – under its purview. The PCI also sought to be renamed as The Media Council. Offering his views on the topic, Sachidananda Murthy, Resident Editor, Malayala Manorama and The Week, and a member of council, said in an emailed statement, “The Press Council is yet to take a final view, though the Chairman and some members feel that the Press Council should be converted to a Media Council. Other members are not enthusiastic about one omnibus body for all streams of media”.

Not allowed to share (Image credit: Getty Images)

Not all of PCI keen about an omnibus body for all media (Image credit: Getty Images)

The reports come in wake of the exodus of northeast Indians from various parts of the country. Reports had claimed that the exodus had been fuelled by morphed images and videos uploaded across websites, and on the social media. The government has been at the task of deleting web pages containing content that was deemed offensive. At the moment, about 310 URLs carrying offensive content stand blocked by the government.

Recently, telecommunications minister Kapil Sibal had stressed on the need of having an institutional mechanism in place to prevent the misuse of social networking websites in the country. “We have to make efforts in consultation with the websites and impress upon them to create an institutional mechanism to prevent misuse of technology,” he said. Taking a step in that direction, the government has also been working along with social networking websites towards creating such a mechanism.

The recent turn of events, especially those pertaining to the widespread northeast exodus in the country, shed light on the role that social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter play in our lives today. 

Sibal opined that if technology was misused, then there should be provision for punishment, and that such a thing is not available at the moment. He added further, “Now we have to decide the steps we have to take under our laws on how we can take it forward so that we can seek help from these websites in the coming days. We can identify those who have misused these websites and punish them”.

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