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The Council has noted with distress that coverage of the alleged suicide by a Film actor by many media outlets is in violation of the Norms of Journalistic Conduct and, therefore, advises the Media to adhere to the Norms framed by the Press Council of India.

The Media should not narrate the story in a manner so as to induce the general public to believe in the complicity of the person indicted. Publishing information based on gossip about the line of investigation by the official agencies on the crime committed is not desirable. It is not advisable to vigorously report crime related issues on a day to day basis and comment on the evidence without ascertaining the factual matrix. Such reporting brings undue pressure in the course of fair investigation and trial.

The Media is advised to refrain from giving excessive publicity to the victim, witnesses, suspects and accused as it will amount to invasion of their privacy rights. Identification of witnesses by the Media needs to be avoided as it endangers them to come under pressure from the accused or his associates as well as investigating agencies.

The Media is advised not to conduct its own parallel trial or foretell the decision to avoid pressure during investigation and trial.

Further, the reporting of the alleged suicide by the actor by some of the newspapers is also in violation of the norms formulated by the Council for reporting on suicide. The norm prohibits publishing stories about suicide prominently and advises the media not to unduly repeat such stories. The media is expected not to use language which sensationalise or normalises suicides or presents it as a constructive solution to the problems. The Media is advised not to use sensational headlines or use photographs, video-footage or social media links while reporting on suicide cases.


Press Council of India

[Press Release dt. 28-08-2020]

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The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had amended the Guidelines for Accreditation of Journalists (as on 02-04-2018) for regulation of fake news, which was later withdrawn (as on 03-04-2018), after an order for cancellation from the President’s office. After top editors and opposition parties accused the government of trying to control the media, the President’s office, said that such question of checking of fake news should be left to the media watchdog, i.e. The Press Council of India.

However, this amendment was made in the wake of the increasing instances of fake news in various mediums including print and electronic media. As per the amendment, on receiving any complaints apropos instances of fake news, the same had to be referred to the Press Council of India (PCI) if it pertains to print media & to News Broadcasters Association (NBA) if it relates to electronic media, for determination of the news item being fake or not. These regulating agencies were expected to complete the determination within 15 days. Once the complaint was registered, the correspondent/journalist whoever created and/or propagated the fake news, if accredited, would have had the accreditation suspended till such time the determination was made by the regulating agencies (mentioned above) regarding the fake news. The Accreditation Committee of the PIB consisting of representatives of both PCI and NBA would have been invariably reached out to (as per the amendment) for validating any accreditation request of any news media agency.

In case of any confirmation of publication/telecast of fake news having been confirmed by any of the above mentioned agencies, the accreditation (as per the amendment) was to be suspended for

  • a period of 6 months in the 1st violation and
  • for 1 year in the case of 2nd violation and
  • in the event of 3rd violation it would have been cancelled permanently.

Furthermore, the regulatory agencies were, while examining the requests seeking accreditation, supposed to examine whether the `Norms of Journalistic Conduct’ and `Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards’ prescribed by the PCI and NBA respectively are adhered to by the journalists as part of their functioning. The amendment made it obligatory for the journalists to abide by the said guidelines.

[Press Release no. 1527401, dt. 03-04-2018]

Ministry of Information & Broadcasting