House panel condemns paid news

The report of the Press Council of India on the matter should be submitted to the ministry within a definite time frame and the ministry’s action taken report on it should be communicated to it, the Standing Committee on Information Technology has said.
The committee, in its report on the Demands for Grants to the I&B Ministry during 2010-11, expressed shock that the PCI had received a number of representations on alleged payments taken or received by media during the 2009 Lok Sabha polls for giving coverage to candidates.

“The phenomenon of paid news is a serious matter for the country which can cause harm to Parliamentary democracy and the Parliamentary system,” it said.
The ministry, to a query from the committee on what constitutes “paid news”, has referred to media reports that sections of the electronic and print media have received monetary considerations for publishing or broadcasting in favour of particular individuals or organisations or corporate entities, and defined it as “essentially advertisement disguised as news.

“The media acts as a repository of public trust for conveying correct and true information to the people. However, when paid information is presented as news content, it could mislead the public,” it said.

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