A joint meeting of representatives of working journalists, editors and owners of the media was held on Saturday at the Indian Newspaper Society to discuss the grave situation arising out of the premeditated actions of the Chairman of the Press Council of India in reconstituting the 13th Press Council of India.
The associations of the print media expressed grave concern over the procedure followed by the Chairman Press Council while reconstituting the 13th Press Council of India.
"The Chairman overlooked precedence and adopted a process to keep out certain media associations and candidates," a joint statement issued by the associations said. "This action of the Chairman has cast serious doubts over the autonomy and neutrality of the PCI, which is mandated to preserve and protect the freedom of the Press".
The meeting was attended by the All India Newspaper Editors Conference, Indian Journalists Union, Indian Newspaper Society, Working News Cameramen Association, Hindi SamacharPatrSammelan, National Union of Journalists (India) and All India Small and Medium Newspapers Federation and Press Association.
The joint statement expressed concern that the Chairman has called a meeting of the reconstituted Press Council with only eight members—five MPs and three official nominees, out of 28 members.
"They have left out the rest of the representatives of the print media organisations as their names are yet to be notified and the Press Council reconstitution is still under way. Informatively, the Delhi Hugh Court has stayed the nomination process," the statement said.
The meeting demanded that the proposed meeting of the truncated Press Council must not be held and must be deferred till the full Council is reconstituted.
"Even at this late stage, the meeting demanded the Government should intervene to restore the credibility and sanctity of the Press Council of India," the statement said. "This will go a long way in demonstrating the will of the Government to protect and preserve the freedom of the Press, vital to any democracy".