• The Press Council of India is a statutory body in India that governs the conduct of the print media.
• It is one of the most important bodies that sustain democracy, as it has supreme power in regards to the media to ensure that freedom of speech is maintained.
• it is also empowered to hold hearings on receipt of complaints and take suitable action where appropriate. It may either warn or censure the errant journalists on finding them guilty.
• It did so on 21 July 2006, when it censured three newspapers — Times of India (Delhi and Pune), Punjab Kesari (Delhi) and Mid Day (Mumbai) — for violation of norms of journalistic conduct.
• the first Press Council known as the Court of Honour for the Press in Sweden in 1916.
• The First Press Commission (1954) came across in some section of the Press, instances of yellow journalism of one type or another, scurrilous writing-often directed against communities or groups, sensationalism, bias in presentation of news and lack of responsibility in comment, indecency and vulgarity and personal attacks on individuals
The Commission recommended the setting up of a Press Council.
• ” to safeguard the freedom of the press”,
• ” to ensure on the part of the Press the maintenance of High standards of public taste and to foster due sense of both the rights and responsibilities of citizenship”
• and ” to encourage the growth of sense of responsibility and public service among all those engaged in the profession of journalism.”
• The Commission said that the Council should consist of men who would command general confidence and respect of the profession and should have 25 members excluding the Chairman. The Chairman was to be a person who was or had been a Judge of the High Court and was to be nominated by the Chief Justice of India.
• The Press Council of India was first constituted on 4th July, 1966 as an autonomous, statutory, quasi-judicial body, with Shri Justice J R Mudholkar, then a Judge of the Supreme Court, as Chairman.
• The Council consists of 28 other members of whom 20 represent the press and are nominated by the press organisations/news agencies recognised and notified by the Council as all India bodies of categories such as editors, working journalists and owners and managers of newspaper;
• 5 members are nominated from the two houses of Parliament and
• 3 represent cultural, literary and legal fields as nominees of the Sahitya Academy, University Grants Commission (U.G.C.) and the Bar Council of India. The members serve on the Council for a term of three years.
• The Council was last reconstituted on 22 May 2001. The present Chairman is Justice Markandey Katju.
• The present Council functions under the Press Council Act 1978.
• The Council is funded by revenue collected by it as fees levied on the registered newspapers in the country on the basis of their circulation. No fee is levied on newspapers with a circulation of less than 5000 copies. The deficit is made good by grants by the Central Government, through the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting