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Headline on Prez lands newspaper into trouble

NEW DELHI: The Press Council of India (PCI) issued a showcause notice to an English daily citing violation of ‘norm of journalistic conduct’ over its headline on President Ram Nath Kovind in its March 17 issue. The story with headline ‘Kovind, not Covid, did it’ — regarding the nomination of former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi to the Rajya Sabha — was on front page of the newspaper published from Kolkata.

In its press release, PCI chairperson C K Prasad ‘noted with concern’ the satirical use of the name of the President. The newspaper has violated the norms of journalistic conduct, and ridiculed and denigrated the President, the release said.

“Taking suo-motu cognisance on the issue… for violation of norm … and of norms of journalistic conduct and prima facie of the opinion that satirical comments, ridiculing and denigrating the first citizen of the country is uncalled for and beyond the call of fair journalistic comment,” the PCI release said.

The newspaper reported that Gogoi had headed the Supreme Court benches that ‘awarded the disputed Ayodhya site to Hindus to build a Ram temple and declined a plea to probe the Rafale fighter plane deal’, the PCI release noted. “Never before in Indian history has a former CJI been nominated to the upper house just months after retiring,” the newspaper had published in its Tuesday edition.

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