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Press Council asks media not to carry out own ‘parallel trial’ regarding SSR case

According to a TOI report, the Press Council of India has requested the media to follow journalistic conduct in covering cases under investigation and is advised not to carry out its own “parallel trial”.

The main focus is to make sure the media does not narrate the story in any random manner so that the readers or viewers do not believe the complicity of the person indicted.

The Council said it has noted with “distress that coverage of the alleged suicide by a film actor by many media outlets is in violation of the norms of journalistic conduct” and, therefore, advises the media to adhere to the norms framed by it.

The Council has also made clear that publishing random information based on lose gossip related to the case at hand is undesirable and is incorrect. The PCI said it is not advisable to vigorously report crime related issues on a “day to day basis and comment on the evidence without ascertaining the factual matrix”.

“The media is advised to refrain from giving excessive publicity to the victim, witnesses, suspects and accused as it will amount to invasion of their privacy rights,” the PCI said. “Identification of the witnesses by the media needs to be avoided as it endangers them to come under pressure from the accused or associates as well as investigating agencies.”

The media has also been advised to not “conduct its own parallel trial or foretell the decision to avoid pressure during investigation and trial”.

The reporting of the alleged suicide by the actor by some newspapers is also in violation of the norms formulated by the Council for reporting on suicide, it said.

The norm prohibits publishing stories about suicide prominently and advises the media not to unduly repeat such stories, the PCI said.

The media is expected not to use language which sensationalises or normalises suicides or presents it as a constructive solution to the problems, it said.

The PCI asked the media not to use sensational headlines or use photographs, video-footage or social media links while reporting on suicide cases.

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