New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday said media persons have been among the frontline corona warriors who played an important role in educating people and mitigating the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. In his written message on the occasion of the National Press Day, the president also appreciated the Press Council of India (PCI), which regulates the print media, for safeguarding the independence of the press.

"I am happy to learn that the Press Council of India is celebrating National Press Day on November 16 on the theme 'Role of Media during COVID-19 and its Impact on the Media'. Rendering its service for nearly 55 years, PCI has been the watchdog safeguarding the independence of the press while trying to ensure quality journalism. Its role is important in the working of our democracy," Kovind said.

The President said the theme of this year's National Press Day celebration deals with the most serious crisis facing the world and India.

"In dealing with the issues concerning COVID 19, the media has played a very important role in educating people and thereby it has helped in mitigating the impact of the pandemic.

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"Media persons have been among the frontline corona warriors. Through PCI, I convey my appreciation to such media persons," Kovind said.

The Press Council of India was instituted on November 16, 1966, to monitor the quality of reportage provided by the Indian press. November 16 is observed to acknowledge and honour the Press Council of India, a statutory and quasi-judicial establishment.

The Press Council of India acts as a moral watchdog in ensuring that Indian journalists are not driven by any influence or external factors.

The First Press Commission 1956 envisioned a committee to protect the ethics of journalism and freedom of the press in India. It led to the formation of a Press Council 10 years later. The Press Council of India monitors all journalistic activities to keep the credibility intact.

Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad is the present chairman of the Press Council of India. He has been appointed for a second term. He succeeded Justice Markandey Katju (2011 2014) to become the chairman of the council.