RS concerned over paid news items

The matter was raised by Brinda Karat (CPI-M) during Zero Hour and was supported by members cutting across party lines.

Karat said PCI is suppressing vital information of paid news "scandal".

She said a sub-committee of PCI had produced a 72-page report on the menace. But instead of making the report public, efforts are being made to remove the names big media houses, which indulged in cash for news.

"It would be tragic if a watchdog is reduced to lapdog of big corporate houses," she said.
Demanding the government's intervention, Karat said the so-called private treaties are being resorted to between the corporate and media houses and newspaper space was given in exchange of company shares, which is violation of SEBI rules.

Noting that PCI was set up through an act of Parliament, Karat said its report should be placed before the House.

"Parliament cannot remain silent when free press is subdued," she said.

S S Ahluwalia (BJP) said the unedited version of the report should be placed before Parliament.

Eminent journalist H K Dua (Nom) said PCI should not be a party to not letting out the 72-page report. He said the report is not being released because it carries the names of proprietors.

Deputy Chairman K Rahman Khan observed that the entire House associates with the issue.

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