Editors Guild of India statement on Press Council of India advisory

Urges PCI to withdraw advisory with immediate effect

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Editors Guild of India
Image: Md Mahdi on Unsplash

The Editors Guild of India is perturbed by the unprovoked advisory issued by the Press Council of India on 25 November 2020 to the media, cautioning them against “unregulated circulation” of “foreign contents (sic).”

Through this advisory, it appears that the Council, which swears by self-regulation of media and believes that any government interference would be destructive to press freedom, is lending its weight towards a step that could bring in some form of censorship and punitive actions against those organizations that publish content, which in its view is seen as “not desirable.” The advisory does not specify who will verify the content, on what criterion will it be verified, and most importantly, what does “unregulated circulation” even mean.

Many publications in the country license and reproduce content from foreign agencies, newspapers, and periodicals, which is a prerogative of the editor, and who is in any case responsible for all the content published in their publication. A reiteration by the Council at this juncture of this established practice, in an ominous-sounding advisory, has disturbing implications.

Editors Guild urges the PCI, which should be committed to press freedom, to withdraw this advisory immediately.

Seema Mustafa, president, Editors Guild of India
Sanjay Kapoor, general secretary, Editors Guild of India
Anant Nath, treasurer, Editors Guild of India

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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