Democracy cannot survive if media is controlled: PCI Chief

Democracy cannot survive if media is controlled: PCI Chief

It is better to have an "irresponsible media than a controlled media" in a democracy, the new Press Council of India (PCI) Chairperson Chandramauli Kumar Prasad today said asserting that protecting the freedom of press would be his top priority.

Prasad, who assumed charge as PCI Chief today, said it is his personal view that people are intelligent enough to judge if media acts irresponsibly, but democracy itself cannot survive if the media is controlled.

"Actually, self regulation is the best thing.... my personal view is that it is better to have irresponsible media than to have a controlled media. Because people take care of that and are intelligent enough to understand but (with a) controlled media, democracy can't survive," he told PTI.

Prasad, however, clarified that he was expressing his own views and they may not necessarily be the views of the Press Council, which will always be decided collectively.

"It is an individual view. One must understand that it (PCI) is a multi-member body. My view is not the council's view," Prasad said adding that a large number of people in the Press Council are very learned and that "their views should have great weight."

Asserting that "without freedom of press, you don't know anything", Prasad said that his basic mantra will be freedom of the press.

Prasad, who succeeds Justice Markandey Katju as the PCI Chief, had retired as Judge of the Supreme Court of India on July 14, 2014.

He had been appointed as the PCI chairperson after being nominated by a Committee comprising Vice President M Hamid Ansari, Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Press Council nominee to the committee S N Sinha.

Prasad was elevated as Judge of the Supreme Court on February 8, 2010 having held the office of Judge/Chief Justice of various High Courts since November 1994.

"The Council shall make all out efforts to preserve the freedom and independence of the press. While doing so the Council shall be guided by the Constitutional principles," a statement released by his office said.

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