What is Press Council of India (PCI)?

  • The Press Council of India was first set up in the year 1966 by the Parliament on the recommendations of the First Press Commission.
  • Aim: To preserve the freedom of the press and maintain and improve the standards of the press in India.
  • The present Council functions under the Press Council Act, 1978. It is a statutory, quasi-judicial authority functioning as a watchdog of the press, for the press and by the press.
  • Composition: The PCI consists of a chairman and 28 other members.
    • The Chairman is selected by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha and a member elected by the PCI.
  • Powers: It adjudicates the complaints against and by the press for violation of ethics and for violation of the freedom of the press, respectively.
    • The Press Council of India is responsible for enquiring into complaints received.
    • It may summon witnesses and take evidence under oath, demand copies of public records to be submitted, even issue warnings and admonish the newspaper, news agency, editor or journalist.
    • Decisions of the PCI are final and cannot be appealed before a court of law.
  • Limitations of PCI: 
    • They cannot penalize newspapers, news agencies, editors and journalists for violation of the guidelines.
    • The PCI only overviews the functioning of print media. It can enforce standards upon newspapers, journals, magazines and other forms of print media.
      • It does not have the power to review the functioning of electronic media like radio, television and internet media.
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