Press Council of India was successful in directing the press in India. Its vigilent watch over the functioning of media make sure that the press is free to function, at the same time deliver its duties responsibly and accurately.The Press Council was enacted and effective from 7th Sept. 1978. Objective of the Act is to establish a Press council for the purpose of preserving the freedom of the Press and of maintaining the standards of newspaper and news agencies in India. The council shall consist of a chairman and twenty-eight other members. The date the Press Council started functioning 16th of November (1966) is observed as the National Press Day.
The chairman is nominated by a Committee consisting of the Rajya Sabha, the Lok Sabha and a person elected by the members of the council, and the nomination so made shall take effect from the date on which it is notified by the Central Government in the Official Gazette. The members include thirteen working journalists, of whom not less than six shall be editors of newspapers, six from the management section of the newspapers , three subject experts (one each is nominated by UGC, Bar Council of India, and Sahitya Academy), one representing the news agencies, three from Lok Sabha nominated by the speaker and two from Rajya Sabha, chosen by its Chairman.
The Press Council Act empowers the Press Council to make observations in respect of conduct of any authority including Government, if considered necessary for performance of its functions under the Act. It can warn, admonish or censure the newspaper, the news agency, the editor or the journalist or disapprove the conduct of the editor or the journalist if it finds that a newspaper or a news agency has offended against the standards of journalistic ethics or public taste or that an editor or a working journalist has committed any professional misconduct.
- to help newspapers to maintain their independence;
- to build up a code of conduct for newspapers news agencies and journalists in accordance with high professional standards;
- to ensure on the part of newspapers news agencies and journalists, the maintenance of high standards of public taste and foster a due sense of both the rights and responsibilities of citizenship;
- to encourage the growth of a sense of responsibility and public service aiming all those engaged in the profession of journalism;
- to keep under review any development likely to restrict the supply and dissemination of news of public interest and importance;
- to keep under review cases of assistance received by any newspaper or news agency in India from any foreign source including such cases as are referred to it by the Central Government or are brought to its notice by any individual, association of persons or any other organization: Provided that nothing in this clause shall preclude the central Government from dealing with any case of assistance received by a newspaper or news agency in India from any foreign source in any other manner it thinks fit;
- to undertake studies of foreign newspapers, including those brought out by any embassy or other representatives in India of a foreign state, their circulation and impact.
- to promote a proper functional relationship among sell classes of persons engaged in the production or publication of newspapers or in news agencies:
- to concern itself developments such as concentration of or other aspects of ownership of newspapers and news agencies which may affect the independence of the Press;
- to indurate such studies as may be entrusted to the council and to espousers its opinion in regard to any matter referred to it by the central government;
- to do such other acts as may be incidental or conductive to the discharge of the above functions.
Every inquiry held by the Council shall be deemed to be a judicial proceeding. Where, on receipt of a complaint made to it or otherwise, the Council has reason to believe that a newspaper has offended against the standards of journalistic ethics or public taste or that an editor or a working journalist has committed any professional mis-conduct or a breach of the code of journalistic ethics, the Council may, after giving the newspaper, the editor or journalist concerned an opportunity of being heard, hold an inquiry in such manner as may be provided by regulations made under this Act and, if it is satisfied that it is necessary so to do, it may, for reasons to be recorded in writing, censure the newspaper, the editor or journalist, as the case may be.
The decision of the Council shall be final and shall not be questioned in any court of law.
The fundamental objective of journalism is to serve the people with news, views, comments and information on matters of public interest in a fair, accurate and unbiased manner.