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‘Concerned’ Press Council tells Modi govt to stop delaying accreditation of journalists

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Press Council asks I&B Ministry to reconstitute Central Press Accreditation Committee within a month, and include journalists’ unions in the panel.

New Delhi: India’s media watchdog Press Council of India (PCI), in an emergency meeting Tuesday, expressed concern about the impasse over the Central Press Accreditation Committee (CPAC). It has asked the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to reconstitute the CPAC within a month, and include the journalists’ unions and associations in the panel.

According to members of the PCI, a resolution to this effect was passed unanimously Tuesday.

Speaking to ThePrint, senior journalist U.C. Sharma, member of the PCI and former member of the CPAC, said the existing committee was functioning in contradiction to the rules, which mandate that journalists’ unions and associations to be included for it to have a more representative character.

“This vindicates our demand,” Sharma said.

As per government sources, four new journalists (not representing any union or association) were appointed to CPAC Friday evening.

The impasse

Journalists’ bodies were excluded from the CPAC that was reconstituted in March 2018 by then-I&B minister Smriti Irani. They had earlier complained to the Prime Minister’s Office, accusing the government of cherry-picking journalists considered close to dispensation and truncating the panel. The new CPAC was cut down to eight members from the maximum 22.

The rules state that the CPAC has to meet every quarter, or even sooner. But the panel had not met since March, holding up dozens of fresh accreditation requests, ThePrint has reported.

While the Press Information Bureau estimated that 40 applications were pending, insiders said the number may run into hundreds.

Over the last many months, the Narendra Modi government reportedly failed to heed several calls from the PIB and media associations to step in and sort out the impasse.

Also read: Not a single journalist has got a fresh govt accreditation since March

What is the CPAC? 

The CPAC can have a maximum of 22 members, with the principal director-general of the PIB serving as the ex-officio chairperson.

Members are appointed on the basis of nominations received from various national-level media associations/unions of journalists and mediapersons. The tenure of the committee is two years from its first meeting.

Members of the current CPAC include Prashant Mishra of Dainik Jagran, Navika Kumar of Times Now, Kanchan Gupta of ABP News, J. Gopikrishnan of The Pioneer, and Smita Prakash of ANI.

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  1. What a joke. Godi media is asking accredition. Except a very few all are sold out to Amit shah. Media is not realising that people of India very seriously watching media. Results of five states elections are evidence. WAKE UP GODI MEDIA.

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