The Editors Guild of India appointed a legal advisory panel on Tuesday that will work with the Guild on issues of Press freedom. This comes amid allegations of authorities trying to muzzle Press freedom by pressing criminal charges against people critical of the governments, according to the Guild.
The panel members include Kapil Sibal, Menaka Guruswamy, Shyam Divan, Sanjay Hegde, Rajiv Nayar, Prashant Kumar and Shahrukh Alam. The Guild is also planning to expand the panel.
“The Editors Guild of India is pleased to announce a legal advisory panel that will advise and work with the Guild on important issues pertaining to Press freedom. The panel will help the Guild craft responses to the complex web of civil and criminal laws that are used by authorities to suppress media freedom,” read a statement by the Guild.
“The panel will be expanded in the coming days to include more members of the legal fraternity from across different states, who have worked in the realm of freedom of expression and media related issues,” it said.
The Guild was recently criticised by Padma Shri awardee and Shillong Times editor Patricia Mukhim who accused it of issuing statements only for celebrity journalists.
She had expressed her disappointment on the Guild’s silence when the Meghalaya High Court did not quash an FIR against her for a Facebook post that she had put up. Following this, she resigned from the media body.
The Guild issued a statement following the resignation saying Mukhim’s case was a reflection of the larger threats to freedom of speech in India. It had also written to state governments on the need to protect media freedom.
Publish ‘verified’ content from foreign media: PCI
The Press Council of India (PCI) has advised the media to publish only ‘verified’ publications of foreign newspaper extracts.
“The PCI has considered references received from various quarters by the government about the responsibility of Indian newspapers in publishing foreign contents,” said the advisory.
“The council is of the view that unregulated circulation of the foreign content is not desirable. Hence, it advises the media to publish foreign extracts in Indian newspapers with due verification as the reporter, publisher and editor of such newspaper shall be responsible for the contents irrespective of the source from which it is received.”