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India’s Press Council seeks wider powers

Monday 31 Oct 2011
The Chairman of India’s Press Council, Markandey Katju, has called for the council’s powers to be widened to cover the electronic media, The Times of India reports.

Markandey Katju

In a television interview, he said he had written to the Prime Minister requesting that the Press Council be given “more teeth”.

Mr Katju said he had a very poor opinion of most people in the media, and described journalists in general as having a “very poor intellectual level”.

“Frankly, I don’t think they have much knowledge of economic theory or political science or literature or philosophy. I don’t think they have studied all this,” he said.

“I have written to the PM that the electronic media should be brought under Press Council and it should be called Media Council and we should be given more teeth. Those teeth would be used in extreme situations.”

Mr Katju said he wanted the Press Council to have the power to suspend the licence of a media organisation and impose fines if it behaved in a very obnoxious matter.

Asked if such measures would threaten freedom of the media, he said: “Everybody is accountable in a democracy. No freedom is absolute. Every freedom is subject to reasonable restrictions. I am accountable, you are accountable, we are accountable to the people.”