The PCI has recently drawn attention after the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting's notification on fake news. The controversial notification that prescribed the suspension of journalists' accreditation for publishing fake news drew outrage from the media community for holding the potential to act like a gag order.
While the controversial order was withdrawn at the behest of the Prime Minister's Office, the Prime Minister also tasked the PCI with addressing the problem of fake news.
The PCI is a statutory quasi-judicial 28-member body led by a retired judge of the Supreme Court. Eight members, to be selected by the government, have already been notified. These include five parliamentarians - four from the BJP and one from the AIADMK .
This year's list includes BJP lawmaker Pratap Simha, who supported the founder of Postcard News when he was arrested for sharing "fake news".
The Indian Newspapers' Society (INS), a body with top newspaper owners as its members, has gone to the Delhi High Court to challenge the PCI's rejection of one of its candidates. The INS has received a stay on the PCI order till July, which means at least one seat will remain challenged until then. Working journalists' associations were also asked to refile their nominations by the chairman, further delaying the selection process.
The new CPAC has also drawn criticism from the media fraternity, as it has been reduced from 25 to 8 members. While media associations made recommendations for at least 12 of these positions, this year these nominations were invited but rejected. Instead, the government named five media persons on its own, some of whom have drawn allegations of bias towards the government.
Two positions will be filled by representatives of the Press Council of India and the National Broadcasters Association, who are still to be selected. The CPAC is chaired by the Director General of the Press Information Bureau, who currently is Frank Noronha and will be replaced by Sitanshu Kar on May 1.
Get the latest election news, live updates and election schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on ndtv.com/elections. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for updates from each of the 543 parliamentary seats for the 2019 Indian general elections.