New Delhi, Apr 7 (PTI) Prominent bodies representing editors, owners of media organisations and working journalists today demanded that the proposed meeting of a truncated Press Council of India must be deferred till a full council is reconstituted and the government should intervene to restore the credibility and sanctity of the PCI.

At a meeting held here, All India Newspaper Editors Conference, Indian Journalists Union, Indian Newspaper Society, Working News Cameramen Association, Hindi Samachar Patr Sammelan, National Union of Journalists (India), All India Small and Medium Newspapers Federation and Press Association expressed grave concern over the procedure followed by the chairman of Press Council while reconstituting the 13th Press Council of India.

“We demand that the proposed meeting of the truncated Press Council must not be held and must be deferred till the full council is reconstituted. Even at this late stage, the meeting demanded the government should intervene to restore the credibility and sanctity of the Press Council of India. This will go a long way in demonstrating the will of the government to protect and preserve the freedom of the press, vital to any democracy,” a joint statement said.

The representatives also noted that the chairman overlooked precedent and adopted a process to keep out certain media associations and candidates.

This action of the chairman has cast serious doubts over the autonomy and neutrality of the PCI, which is mandated to preserve and protect the freedom of the press, the statement said.

They also stated that the chairman has called a meeting of the reconstituted Press Council with only eight members – five MPs and three official nominees, out of 28 members, leaving out the rest of the representatives of the print media organisations as their names are yet to be notified and the Press Council reconstitution is still under way.

The Delhi High Court has stayed the nomination process.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.