BJP spokesperson and Press Council of India member N. Ramchander Rao has urged PCI chairman Markandeya Katju to take steps to curb paid news. Mr. Rao had contested from the Malkajgiri Assembly constituency in the just-concluded elections.

In a representation to Mr. Katju, the BJP leader said that after he had commenced his campaign, many media representatives had offered to publish paid news and “wanted me to make huge payments”. He said there was no impact on the media representatives even after he informed them that he was a member of the PCI, and that his name was in the panel to check paid news in 2014 elections. However, given that he was a candidate, he was not a member of any such panel.

He said that he did not encourage paid news as a member of PCI. Seeking more powers for the PCI, Mr. Rao said the powers vested in it were not sufficient to take action against erring newspapers. He said the mechanism to detect paid news should also change.

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