Press Council of India Chairman Markandey Katju on Friday announced the constitution of a committee to consider prescribing minimum qualifications for journalists and regulations for institutions imparting media courses.

Talking to reporters here on Friday, he said like medical and legal professions, journalism too had become a developed profession and there was a need for formal qualification and training.

He said the committee would consider all aspects and submit its report to the council. If it was accepted by the PCI, it would be sent to government.

Asserting that he was a strong believer in media freedom, Mr. Katju said he was not creating any law and only throwing up an idea which should be discussed in public domain.

Replying to another question on standards, he said there were many reasons for the standards to go down, including commercialisation. He said that a large number of media personnel were paid very poorly.

Many of them were taken on contract basis and there was no job security. In these times of rising prices, they have to supplement the income and they do it by paid news.

Mr. Katju said that he had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to bring electronic media under the purview of PCI.

Convener of the committee Shravan Garg said they would speak to all stakeholders and submit the report at the earliest.

Andhra Jyothi censured

Earlier, during the meeting of the Inquiry Committee-II of the PCI, Mr. Katju in his order censured and admonished Andhra Jyothi, a Telugu daily for publishing defamatory statements in connection with two cases and said the PCI would recommend to Registrar of Newspapers of India to consider cancellation or suspension of license of the newspaper and to DAVP for suspension of advertisements. He said the orders would also be sent to appropriate criminal courts for instituting defamation cases. One of the cases pertained to a complaint filed by S.L. Kameswari, Asst. Professor of Home Science College and the other one was against a Swamiji.

Directive to TOI

He criticised some newspapers for defaming people to create sensation and increase their circulation.

While disposing of another complaint filed by V. Usha Rani, IAS officer against Times of India, Hyderabad, he directed the paper to publish the officer’s version and also express its regrets. Ms. Rani, who was present, complained that her image was tarnished and the newspaper had not published her version. In another case, in which Mr. Katju recused himself, Eenadu was directed to publish a rejoinder in the form of a letter in connection with a news item published against Kadapa MP Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy.

In all 19 matters were dealt with by the inquiry committee.

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