He also made a pitch for setting up of an appellate body in this regard. "An independent institution is required to decide whether any political report published by a newspaper is a paid news or not. At the same time, another independent organisation is also needed so that the newspaper concerned can appeal on the verdict given by the regulator on paid news," Prasad said.

He was speaking at a seminar on the 'Impact of Money in Elections and the Role of Media' here, organised by the Andhra Pradesh Union of Working Journalists.

Both -- the Press and Book Registration Act, 1867 and the Indian Penal Code have to be amended to initiate action on paid news.

The publication of paid news has to be considered as punishable but the action against those publishers can be initiated only after the verdict given by the independent organisations, like the Press Council of India, he asserted.

According to Prasad, the practice of paid news impacts the ethics of media and if it is not curbed, the media will have to face further consequences in the future.

"Paid news damage the spirit of democracy and it may ruin the democratic system in the country," he annoyed.

He feels that the registration of a news paper has to be cancelled or suspended for a certain period if it is found indulging in such practice.


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