New Delhi: Press Council of India Chairman Markandey Katju on Monday constituted a three-member fact-finding team to look into complaints of violation of the freedom of press in Bihar.

The team, headed by Rajeev Ranjan Nag, will go into all aspects of the complaints of the violation of freedom of press, Katju said in a statement here.

He said the team has been asked to make "thorough investigation" of the issues and report to him at the earliest.

"The version of all persons and organisations including the version of the state government should be considered by the team. The state government is requested to extend all cooperation to the team in this connection," the statement said.

Katju said he received several complaints that journalists in Bihar find it difficult to discharge their journalistic duties and report freely during his visit to Patna last week.

He said he received complaints that they (journalists) were not able to carry out their responsibilities out of fear and that if they do "they will lose their jobs or get transferred and be harassed in other ways, since the authorities put pressure on the proprietors to do so.

"Government advertisements are also cancelled if news against the government or any minister or official is published. If this is true, it is violation of the freedom of the press guaranteed under article 19(1)(a) of the constitution," he said.

Katju had last week targeted the Bihar government alleging that the media in this state was harassed if it wrote against the government.

He had said the information he had gathered about the media in Bihar was "not good" and reminded the Nitish Kumar government that its alleged action against the press was a violation of the Constitution.

(Agencies)