Press Day: Govt mum on PCI’s rejection of 'Dalit' ban

 Finance Minister Arun Jaitley addresses during the National Press Day celebrations and Conferring of National Awards for Excellence in Journalism-2018, in New Delhi, Friday, Nov.16, 2018. PTI Photo

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley,  while speaking at an event on Friday in the national capital on the occasion of National Press Day, avoided commenting on the brewing controversy regarding Press Council of India’s (PCI) decision to reject a blanket ban on the use of the term ‘Dalit’ by Indian media. 

Jaitley in his speech asserted that it is impossible to censor news due to the technology available today. "You have multiple forums and because of technology, censorship is impossible. Any kind of pressure is impossible," Jaitley said. 

However, he did not care to comment on the PCI coming out on Thursday to challenge an advisory issued by the Information & Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry that states the media should stop using the word ‘Dalit’ and replace it with ‘Scheduled Caste’.  

DH had earlier reported on and questioned the rationale of such a move when it was revealed that the I&B ministry had taken a cue from a June order by the Bombay high court in response to a petition filed by Pankaj Meshram before the Nagpur bench of the high court to form the aforementioned advisory.

On Thursday, a day before National Press day which is held annually on November 16 to celebrate the creation of the PCI, Justice (retd) C.K. Prasad, the current chairman of PCI, said that “absolute prohibition of the word ‘Dalit’ is not advisable” and not even “feasible”. 

“Our reading of the Bombay High Court order is that it did not seek a ban on the word ‘Dalit’. We deliberated on the order and have come to the conclusion that it is advisable not to issue directions/orders prohibiting the use of word ‘Dalit’,” Justice Prasad said, according to The Hindu.

The chairman also said that such a decision can only be taken in individual cases. “If say a man is injured in an accident and he turns out to be from the Scheduled Caste, then identifying him as a Dalit will be unnecessary,” he added.

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  Press Day: Govt mum on PCI’s rejection of 'Dalit' ban

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