Place news channels under Lokpal: Katju

Place news channels under Lokpal: Katju

"Self-regulation is no regulation" and news organisations are "private bodies whose activities have a large influence on the public and they also must be answerable to the public," Katju said.

"How can electronic channels say that they are not accountable to anyone but themselves?," he said.

Earlier on Sunday, Katju had written a letter to News Broadcasting Association Secretary N K Singh asking him if News Broadcasters were willing to be placed under the Lokpal.

"I would like to know whether the News Broadcasters Association, of which perhaps you are the Secretary, are willing to be placed under the Lokpal which is proposed to be set up in the winter session of Parliament? You seem to be reluctant to come under the Press Council of India. Are you also reluctant to come under the Lokpal?" Katju had written.

"You claim the right of self-regulation. May I remind you that even Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts do not have that absolute right. They can be impeached by Parliament for misconduct and in fact recently a Chief Justice of a High Court and a Judge of a High Court resigned while being impeached," Katju said in the letter.

"Lawyers come under the Bar Council and their licence can be suspended or cancelled for professional misconduct. Similarly, doctors come under the Medical Council, chartered accountants under their Council etc," Katju wrote.

"Why then should you object to being placed under the Lokpal or some other regulatory authority?," Katju said in his letter.

"In the recent Anna Hazare movement, wide publicity was given to it by the media. What is the demand of Anna Hazare? That politicians, bureaucrats, judges etc should all be placed under the Jan Lokpal bill. By what logic do you claim to be exempt from being placed under the Lokpal?" Katju's letter said.

"You claim the right of self-regulation. By the same logic politicians, bureaucrats, etc will also claim the right of self-regulation. Or do you claim to be so 'doodh ka dhula' (cleansed by milk) that you should not be regulated by anyone else except yourself? What then was paid news, Radia tapes etc," Katju asked in the letter.

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