India

Indian Press Faces Growing Calls for Regulation

A bit of a trend, these days

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The rapid growth of revenue-hungry Indian media and recent scandals involving news outlets have prompted growing calls for external regulation, raising concerns about independence of the press.

In May, a parliamentary committee argued for the creation of a statutory body to control the print and electronic media. And in April, the Delhi High Court--in a case prompted by reality television--rejected the idea of self-regulation and recommended the central government form a statutory body to regulate the electronic media. "Absence of state intervention on its own is no guarantee of a rich media environment," a bench headed by Justice Pradeep Nandrajog said.

Markandey Katju, chairman of the Press Council of India, a statutory body that governs the conduct of the print media, has expanded on such calls, pressing for electronic media to be brought under the purview of the Council. In a column that appeared in The Hindu he wrote, "If red lines can be drawn for the legal and medical professions, why should it be any different for profit-making newspapers and TV channels?"