Set up a council for all forms of media: Parliamentary panel

What is the News?

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Communications and Information Technology has submitted two reports titled “Ethical Standards In Media Coverage” and “Suspension Of Telecom Services/Internet And Its Impact” to the Parliament.

What are the recommendations given by the Ethical Standards In Media Coverage report?

Setup a Media Council: A ‘Media Council’ should be set up with statutory powers to enforce its powers to check “irregularities” in print, electronic and digital media platforms. This is because existing regulatory bodies like the Press Council of India(PCI) and News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority(NBDSA) have limited efficacy because they do not have the powers to enforce their decisions.

Restructure the Press Council of India(PCI) to cover all types of Media. Currently, PCI covers only print media.

Fake News: The panel expressed concern over the circulation of widespread fake news on social media and digital news platforms. However, it appreciated the establishment of Fact Check Units at 17 regional offices of the Press Information Bureau.

What are the recommendations given by the Suspension Of Telecom Services/Internet And Its Impact report?

There should be no blanket ban on Internet services in situations of unrest or law and order crisis.

Instead, the Department of Telecom can explore the option of banning selective services such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram.

The selective banning can help control the spread of misinformation during the unrest and can allow financial services, health, education and various other services to continue to operate for business as usual.

Moreover, a thorough study should be commissioned by the government to assess the impact of the internet shutdown on the economy and find out its effectiveness.

Note: According to ​​the Cellular Operators Association of India, telecom operators lose Rs 2.45 crore per hour in every Circle Area where there is a shutdown or throttling.

Source: This post is based on the following articles:

  • Set up a council for all forms of media: Parliamentary panel” published in TOI on 1st December 2021.
  • Avoid blanket internet ban, says Parliament panel” published in TOI on 1st December 2021.
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