Appellant: Is RTI Act applicable to Print & Electronic media? CIC: The electronic & print media, as a whole, cannot be declared as a public authority; A particular media house can be declared as a public authority if it fulfils the conditions u/s 2(h)
Appellant sought information on the following two points:
1. Is RTI Act 2005 applicable to both medias – Print and Electronic? If yes, how? If no, why?
2. As per PCI Amendment Rules, 1988, obligatory fees to register newspapers as per their circulations what amounts are to be paid or the fees payable to PCI from newspapers? Please list the name of newspaper against its fee payable to date to you (PCI).
Relevant facts emerging during hearing:
Both the parties are present. Appellant is heard through video conferencing. Appellant sought the above information by filing an RTI application dated 26.07.2013. PIO provided a point wise response on 12.08.2013. FAA vide order dated 23.09.2013 disposed of the first appeal of the appellant. Appellant submitted that he was not satisfied with the response of the public authority. CPIO submitted that the appellant was informed to contact the Central Information Commission on query no.1 of his RTI application. As regards query no.2, copy of notification dated 14.03.1988 along with a CD carrying details of fees payable to Press Council of India were sent to the appellant. On a query by the Commission as to whether the PCI has access to information held by the media, the respondent replied in the negative. It was submitted by the CPIO that the media whether print or electronic, are independent of any control by the PCI. Appellant contended that the print and electronic media ought to be under the purview of the RTI Act. He submitted that the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has already affirmed in the year 2005 that the RTI Act is applicable to Electronic Media. Therefore, it should automatically be applicable to print media as well. A copy Ministry of I&B’s letter dated 20.12.2005 was providing to the Commission and taken on record. On a query by the Commission as to whether the appellant wants to know that the media as a whole should be brought under the purview of the RTI Act, the latter replied in affirmative. Respondent submitted that the media cannot be treated as a public authority as they are from corporate sector.
After hearing both the parties and on perusal of the record, the Commission observes that while the information on point 2 of the RTI application has been provided. The appellant’s main contention to file the present RTI application is that the print and electronic media as a whole should be brought under the purview of the RTI Act. The RTI Act is applicable to the public authorities as defined u/s 2(h) “public authority” means any authority or body or institution of self-government established or constituted (a) by or under the Constitution; (b) by any other law made by Parliament; (c) by any other law made by State Legislature; (d) by notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government, and includes any- (i) body owned, controlled or substantially financed; (ii) non-Government organization substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government; of the RTI Act, as follows:
“(h) "public authority" means any authority or body or institution of self- government established or constituted—
(a) by or under the Constitution;
(b) by any other law made by Parliament;
(c) by any other law made by State Legislature;
(d) by notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government, and includes any—
(i) body owned, controlled or substantially financed;
(ii) non-Government organisation substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government;”
The electronic and print media, as a whole, cannot be declared as a public authority. A particular media institution/house can be declared as a public authority if it fulfils the above mentioned requisite conditions. In the present appeal, the appellant has not argued to declare any specific media institution or house as a public authority under the RTI Act. No further action is called for. The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Citation: Shri Kanhaiyalal Chhabulal v. Press Council of India in F.No.CIC/DS/A/2013/002288-YA