Press Council of India (PCI) has issued guidelines to the media to give objective reports about general election and cautioned it against the phenomenon of paid news.
- Electoral Conduct: Newspapers are not expected to indulge in unhealthy election campaigns, exaggerated reports about any candidate or party during the elections. It will be duty of press to give objective reports about election and the candidates
- Hate News: Press should eschew reports which tend to promote feelings of enmity or hatred between people on the grounds of race, religion caste, community, language or region,
- Character Assassination News: The press should refrain from publishing false or critical statements in regard to personal character and conduct of any candidate to prejudice the prospects of that candidate in the elections.
- Paid News: Press should not publish unverified allegations against any candidate or party. Media should guard against paid news which it defined as “any news or analysis appearing in any media (print & electronic) for price in cash or kind as consideration,
- Poll Surveys: Whenever newspapers publish pre-poll surveys, they should preface them conspicuously by indicating institutions which have carried on such surveys, individuals and organisations which have commissioned them, size and nature of sample selected and method of selection of the sample for findings.
- For Authorities: The rules and orders regulating entry of media persons to places of election should be notified and cut-off date for applying for passes should be given due and advance publicity.
- They cannot prohibit use of vehicles by media persons for movement during elections although its use for voters by candidates and their agents is prohibited because journalist have to move from booth to booth and collect information from all centres whether on polling day or at time of counting.
Press Council of India (PCI)
It is a statutory body with mandate to act as watchdog to oversee conduct of print media in the country. It derives its mandate and powers from Press Council Act, 1978.
Composition: It consist of Chairman (who has by convention, been a retired judge of Supreme Court) and 28 other members off whom 20 represent press, five are nominated from two Houses of Parliament and three represent cultural, literary and legal fields.
Functions: It is statutory, quasi-judicial body acting as watchdog of press. It adjudicates complaints against press (print media) for violation of ethics and for violation of freedom of press respectively.