National Press Day: Importance, significance and history of the day


India celebrates 16th November as National Press Day every year and the day is observed in honor of the Press Council of India. The day is meant to mark the presence of the free and responsible press in India. The Press Council of India is responsible for examining the quality of reportage from the Indian media, while also keeping a check on other journalistic activities. The day celebrates the existence of a free and accountable press in the nation.

Significance of Press Freedom

The freedom of the press is an essential aspect to maintain the independence of the press. This ensures the integrity of the press as it is often referred to as the the voice of the voiceless, a connecting link between the all-powerful rulers and those who are being ruled.

The goal of the press is to bring to light and any injustice faced by the people and highlights the malaise of the system. It is meant to help the government find solutions to these problems, while strengthening the values of the democratic system of governance. For this very reason, the press is often referred to as one of the four pillars of a strong democracy and is the only aspect where the common citizen can directly participate in. The other three pillars are the Executive, Legislative, and the Judiciary – a gang of select few.

The council is extremely important to India as it was inherently constructed to protect the fourth pillar of a democracy, that is, the free press. Hence, it works consistently to ensure that the credibility of journalism is not compromised.

In the year 1956, the First Press Commission decided to form a body bestowed with statutory authority, meant to fulfill the responsibility of maintaining the ethics of journalism. The Commission felt that a managing body was required in order to connect with the people of the press and also to arbitrate on any issues that arose.

In 1966, on 16the November, the PCI was formed and following this, the National Press Day has been celebrated ever since on 16th November, every year to commemorate the establishment of the council.

According to the Press Council of India’s official website, the council is traditionally chaired by a retired Supreme Court Judge and 28 additional members of which 20 are members of the media outlets operating in India. Five members are nominated from the Houses of the Parliament and the remaining three represent cultural, legal and literary fields.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

Press Council of India Founder: Parliament of India;
Press Council of India Founded: 4 July 1966, India;
Press Council of India Headquarters: New Delhi;
Press Council of India Chairperson: Smt. Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai.