November 16 marks National Press Day in India which is celebrated to commemorate the establishment of the Press Council of India which was formed in 1966.
Why is it celebrated?
On 16 November 1966, the Press Council of India (PCI) assumed the role of the moral watchdog to the fourth pillar of the country, in order to ensure that the press maintains the quality and high standards expected from it and does not get affected by any external factors in its functioning.
What is the objective of this day?
This day stands as a day symbolic of a responsible and free press in the country. Since the year 1997, the Council has commemorated the day in a significant way through seminars with relevant themes.
There are several Press/ Media Councils across the world but the Press Council of India is a unique entity in its duty to safeguard the independence of the press, where the press is that of a free type which realizes its own responsibilities as the fourth pillar of the country.
The Press Council keeps a check on the quality of reportage provided by the Indian press. It also ensures that journalistic objectivity is not compromised due to “influence or threats of any extraneous factors.”
The Press Council of India was first constituted on 4th July 1966 as an autonomous, statutory, quasi-judicial body, with Shri Justice J R Mudholkar, then a Judge of the Supreme Court, as Chairman.
In 1956, the first Press Commission had concluded that the best way to maintain professional ethics in journalism can be achieved by creating a statutory authority body consisting of people mainly connected with the industry and can arbitrate the activities. This led to the birth of the Press Council of India in 1966.