PR/ 7 /CH/2012 3rd February, 2012
Under Section 13(1) of the Press Council Act, 1978, it is the duty of the Press Council to preserve the freedom of the Press. I have been receiving reports from several quarters in several States that the freedom of the Press is in various being imperilled ways, e.g. :-
(i) By physical assaults on journalists/media establishments by various government
agencies and other persons/organizations;
(ii) By withholding government advertisements/other facilities when a newspaper is critical of the government;
(iii) Various other ways, including threats.
I have already issued strong letters to the Chief Ministers of J&K, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh in this connection. I have also sent a letter to the Chief Minister of West Bengal objecting to the new rules regarding accreditation of journalists, some of which are likely to adversely effect the freedom of the Press.
Freedom of speech and expression is a guaranteed right under Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution. Since I feel that this freedom is under threat in many States I intend to send Fact Finding Teams to some of the States from where we are getting a large number of such complaints. I have sought the opinion of the Members of the Press Council in this connection.
The Chief Ministers/Chief Secretaries/Secretaries of the Information Department of all State Government are hereby informed that the violation of the Constitutional right to freedom of the press will not be tolerated by the Press Council any more, and a serious view and strong action will be taken by the Press Council whenever and wherever this right is infringed.
Copies of this press release shall be sent forthwith by the office of the Press Council to (1) The Chief Ministers/ Chief Secretaries/Secretaries of Information Departments of all States/Union Territories (2) The Union Minister of I&B/Secretary of I&B Ministry, Govt. of India (3) Members of Press Council (4) Press Organisations.
Chairman, Press Council of India