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‘Free press more important than free govt’
Published on 28 Dec. 2010 11:27 PM IST
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A free press, which strives to be the voice of the people, is more vital than free government, Press Council of India (PCI) chairman G.N. Roy said Tuesday.
According to Roy, a former Supreme Court judge and Gujarat High Court chief justice, the PCI had already suggested to the centre to form an autonomous and self-regulating media commission.
“Trivialisation of news, paid news syndrome and not giving proper priority to national interests are the most unfortunate, condemnable and revolting affairs,” Roy told reporters at a ‘Meet the Press’ programme here.
“Taking support from the corporate houses is not so illegitimate an act, but over- corporatisation of media houses is not expected,” he said, adding that media organisations should always look to the interests of the journalists. Proliferation of media houses has generated an “unholy competition” among them and they should instead be the voice of the “voice-less people”, he said.
Rejecting the belief that the PCI is a ‘toothless tiger’, he said: “We do not want to strangulate... the media, the PCI wants to see a free press which would be a watchdog in all aspects.” According to Roy, the constitutional body receives 1,100 to 1,200 complaints a year on an average. “Governments, both at the centre and the states, are more or less following the directives and judgments of the PCI, but the media houses in most cases have not been complying with the orders,” he said. Supporting sting operations by the media, the council chief said they should be conducted with great care and keeping in mind the interests of the nation.

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