As the fulminations of the chairman of the Press Council of India, Justce Markandey Katju, swing from the ludicrous to the ridiculous, time to look at the day—50 years ago—the PCI took seed, not for its quixotic chief to plead for a convict’s sentence to be commuted or for a sovereign nation to be declared fake, but for the high ideals of the media to be protected.
From The Hindu, dated 23 March 1963:
“A Bill to set up the Press Council will be introduced in the next session of Parliament, said B. Gopala Reddi, Minister for Information and Broadcasting, in the Lok Sabha. Considering the various problems facing the Press, he was convinced that there was no use in delaying the constitution of the Press Council.
“In his reply to the demands for grants for his Ministry, Gopala Reddi said that as soon as legislation for setting up the Press Council was passed, steps would be taken to constitute it. It would go into the various aspects of the Press like, monopoly tendencies, status of the editor, and other matters as envisaged in the report of the Press Commission.
“He pointed out that it had been agreed generally by the members of the Congress Party, the opposition members, and the Government that the powers of the Press should not be in the hands of a few persons. But the questions connected with the functioning of the Press in the country were of a legal and constitutional nature and should be dealt with by the Press Council.”