Monday, 23 June 2014

Guidelines issued by the Press Council of India to the Press!

The first Press Council of India was constituted on 4th July, 1966 as an autonomous, statutory, quasi-judicial body, with Justice  Markandey Katju , a Supreme Court Judge, as its Chairman. The Council draws its function from the Press Council Act, 1965 which are as follows:
i)    To help newspapers to maintain their independence.
ii)    To build up a code of conduct for newspapers and journalists in accordance with high professional standards.
iii)    To ensure on the part of newspapers and journalists the maintenance of high standards of public taste and foster a due sense of both the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
iv)    To encourage the growth of a sense of responsibility and public service among all those engaged in the profession of journalism.
v)     vi)    To keep under review such cases of assistance received by any newspaper or news agency in India from foreign sources

Guidelines issued by the Press Council of India:

1. Accuracy and Fairness
i)    The Press shall avoid publishing inaccurate, baseless, graceless, or misleading material. All sides of the core issue or subject should be reported.
ii)    Whenever exposing the wrong doing such reports need to be backed by convincing facts and evidences.

2.Pre-Publication Verification:
i)    Any report or article of public interest or complaint etc. should be checked for its factual accuracy from other authentic sources.
ii)    A document, which forms a basis of a news report, should be preserved at least for six months.

3.Caution against defamatory writings:
i)    Newspaper should not publish anything which is defamatory or libelous unless after due verification, there is sufficient reason/evidence to believe that it is true and its publication will be for public good.
ii)    No derogatory personal remarks against a dead person should be published except in rare cases of public interest. .
iv)     Publication of defamatory news by one paper does not give licence to others to publish news/information reproducing or repeating the same. .
vi)    Freedom of Press does not give licence to a newspaper to malign a political leader or by publishing fake and defamatory writings.

4. Public Interest and Public Bodies:

As a custodian of public interest, the Press has a right to highlight cases of corruption and irregularities in public bodies but it should be based on convincing evidence.
Newspapers should refrain from barbed, stinging and spicy language and ironical/satirical style of comment.

5. Right to Privacy:
The Press shall not intrude or invade the privacy of an individual, unless outweighed by genuine overriding public interest..
{Note: Things concerning a person's home, family, religion, health, sexuality, personal life and private affairs are covered by the concept of PRIVACY.}

6.Caution against Identification:
While reporting crime involving rape, abduction or kidnap of women/females or sexual  assault on children, or raising doubts and questions touching the chastity, personal character and privacy of women, the names, photographs of the victims or other particulars leading to their identity shall not be published.
Minor children and infants who are the offspring of sexual abuse or forcible marriage' or illicit sexual union shall not be identified or photographed.
Intrusion through photography into moments of personal grief shall be avoided.

7.Recording interviews and phone conversation:
The Press shall not tape-record anyone's conversation without that person's knowledge or consent, except where it is required to protect the journalist in a legal action, or for other compelling good reason.
Prior to publication offensive epithets used during such conversation should be deleted.

8.Conjecture(Speculation}, comment and fact:
Newspaper should not pass on or elevate conjecture, speculation or comment as a statement of fact.
Cartoons and caricatures depicting good humour are to be placed in a special category of news that enjoy more liberal attitude.

9.Headings not to be sensational/provocative:
a. Provocative and sensational headlines are to be avoided;
b. Headings must reflect and justify the matter printed under them;
c. Headings containing allegations made in statements should either identify the body or the source making it or at least carry quotation marks.

10.Newspapers to eschew suggestive guilt: Newspapers should not name or identify the family or relatives or associates of a person convicted or accused of a crime, when they are totally innocent.

11.Caution in criticizing judicial acts and reporting proceedings of a Legislature:
it is open to a newspaper to report pending judicial proceedings, in a fair, accurate and reasonable manner.
 In case of Legislature newspapers have a duty to report faithfully the proceedings of either House of Parliament or Legislative Assembly which is open for the media.
Newspapers may make reasonable criticism of a judicial act or the judgment of a court for public good but shall not scandalize(outrange) the court or the judiciary as a whole, or make personal allegations of lack of ability or integrity against a judge.

12.Corrections: When any factual error or mistake is detected or confirmed, the newspaper should publish the correction promptly with apology or expression of regrets in a case of serious lapse.

13.Right of Reply: The newspaper should promptly and with due prominence, publish either in full or with due editing, free of cost, at the instance of the person affected or feeling aggrieved/or concerned by the impugned publication..

14.Obscenity and vulgarity to be eschewed: Newspapers/journalists shall not publish anything which is obscene, vulgar or offensive to public good taste. Newspapers shall not display advertisements which are vulgar or which, through depiction of a woman in nude or lewd posture. The globalisation and liberalisation do not give license to the media to misuse freedom of the press and to lower the values of the society. So far as one of the duties of the media is to preserve and promote our cultural heritage and social values.

15.Photo Coverage on Terrorist Attack, Communal Clashes and AccidentsWhile reporting news with regard to terrorist attacks or communal riots, the media should refrain from publishing/telecasting pictures of mangled corpses or any other photographic coverage which may create terror, or revulsion(distaste) or ignite communal excitement among people.
It shall avoid presenting acts of violence, armed robberies and terrorist activities in a manner that glorifies their acts.

16.Caste, religion or community references:

In general, the caste identification of a person or a particular class should be avoided. Newspapers are advised against the use of word 'Scheduled Caste' or 'Harijan' which has been objected to by some.
An accused or a victim shall not be described by his caste or community .
Newspaper should not publish any fictional literature distorting and portraying the religious or well known characters in an adverse light offending the vulnerability of large sections of society who hold those characters in high esteem.
It is the duty of the newspaper to ensure that the tone, spirit and language of a write up is not objectionable, provocative, against the unity and integrity of the country.

17. Paramount national interest: Newspapers shall  restraint and caution in presenting any news, comment or information which is likely to jeopardise, endanger or harm the chief interests of the State and society.
Publication of wrong/incorrect map is a very serious offence. It adversely affects the territorial integrity of the country and warrants prompt and prominent retraction with regrets.

18.Foreign Relations: Media plays a very important role in moldings public opinion and developing better understanding between countries. Objective reporting so as not to jeopardise friendly bilateral relations is therefore desirable though newspapers may expose misuse of diplomatic immunity.

20. Investigative journalism, its norms and parameters:
Investigative reporting has three basic elements.
a. It has to be the work of the reporter, not of others he is reporting;
b. The subject should be of public importance for the reader to know;
c. The investigative reporter should, as a rule, base his story on facts investigated, detected and verified by himself and not on gossip or on imitative evidence collected by a third party.
d. The investigative journalist should maintain a proper balance between openness and secrecy.
e. The tone of the report and its language should be sober, decent and dignified, and not needlessly offensive, barbed, .

21.Confidence to be respected:  
If information is received from a confidential source, the confidence should be respected. This rule requiring a newspaper not to publish matters disclosed to it in confidence is not applicable where:
(a) Consent of the source is subsequently obtained; or
(b) The editor clarifies by way of an appropriate footnote clarifies that since the publication of certain matters were in the public interest.

22.Advertisements: Commercial advertisements are information as much as social, economic or political information. What is more, Journalistic respectability demands that advertisements must be clearly distinguishable from news content carried in the newspaper

23. Newspapers to avoid crass commercialism:
While newspapers are entitled to ensure, improve or strengthen their financial viability by all legitimate means, the Press shall not engage in blundering commercialism

The practice of taking security deposit by an editor from the journalists at the time of their appointment is unethical.
media house cannot be permitted to become subservient to other business interests.

Apart from all this newspaper should avoid involvement in fraudulent activities, professional rivalry, plagiarism, unauthorized lifting of news.