PCI forms 4-member panel to check paid news

The Press Council of India has formed a four-member committee to investigate the practice of paid news and keep a tab on any other attempt to affect the freedom of the press during elections in Gujarat.

"Since the Gujarat Assembly elections are shortly to take place, I am hereby appointing a committee of four members of the Press Council of India who are requested to visit Gujarat soon and after an an extensive tour and thorough investigation, report to me about any incidents of paid news or any kind of violation of press freedom, overt or covert, direct or indirect," PCI chairperson Justice Markandey Katju said.

The members of the committee are Rajeev Ranjan Nag (convener), Kalyan Baruah, Sandeep Shankar and Neeraj Bajpai.

Explaining its reasons to form the committee, the PCI said the Election Commission had detected a large number of cases of paid news in the recent Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections.

Paid news can result in cancellation of an election result and the election result of one person declared elected in the UP Legislative Assembly elections was cancelled on this ground, the PCI statement added.

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