Press Council of India Wants Newspapers to 'Verify' Extracts From Foreign Publications

The reporter, editor and publisher of Indian newspapers will be "held responsible" for content published, the advisory says, irrespective of the source.

New Delhi: Saying that the “unregulated circulation of foreign content is not desirable”, the Press Council of India has said that Indian newspapers must verify any extracts they publish from foreign publications.

This decision, the PCI has said in a media advisory issued on November 25, was based on “references received from various quarters by the Government about the responsibility of Indian Newspapers in publishing foreign contents”. The reporter, editor and publisher of Indian newspapers will be “held responsible” for content published, the advisory continues, irrespective of the source.

Editorials from foreign publications including the Washington Post, New York Times and The Economist are often republished in Indian newspapers. As The Wire has reported before, a large number of foreign publications have been critical of the Narendra Modi regime and Bharatiya Janata Party in recent times.

While the PCI advisory is meant for Indian newspapers, the Modi government has made several rules to restrict foreign journalists and publications in India. For instance, those holding J-visas (meant for journalists) were inexplicably not part of the Ministry of Home Affairs’ list of visa holders permitted to enter India as COVID-19 restrictions were slowly removed. This rule was then amended after it was publicised.

Also recently, the Modi government has capped FDI in digital media at 26% of equity. This has made operations difficult for a number of foreign publications running India branches, and was the reason behind the closure of HuffPost India earlier this week.