A recent press release by the Press Council of India (PCI) said that PCI has decided to include the electronic and social media under its ambit, as the efforts of the broadcast media to regulate itself had proved to be “futile”. The report also said that PCI intends to convey to the government of India that it wishes to be renamed The Media Council. However, soon after, both claims were rubbished by another report citing that no such decisions had been taken by the council.

Keeping the Internet free of hateful content (Image credit: Getty Images

Would the PCI extend its purview to the electronic and social media?

Reports quoted K.S. Sachidananda Murthy, a member of the Council and Resident Editor of the Malayala Manorama daily, as saying, “The Press Council did not take such a decision. The members felt that such an important step needs to be discussed and it was decided to discuss the amendments to the Press Council Act at the next meeting of the Press Council”. In contrast, the Council's Chairman, Justice Markandey Katju, was quoted, “It [Mr. Murthy’s claim] is not correct. It was a unanimous decision and he was party to that decision. I don’t know why he is saying this now”. We tried to contact a member of the Press Council of India, but he was unable to comment.

The reports come in wake of the exodus of northeast Indians in the country, which was 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.

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