I&B Ministry Withdraws Circular On Fake News After Prime Minister’s Office Steps In

12:37 pm 4 Apr, 2018

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On April 2, 2018, the I&B Ministry said that the accreditation of a journalist could be permanently cancelled if the scribe is found generating or propagating fake news.

As per the amended guidelines, the accreditation of that journalist would be suspended for a period of six months in the first violation and for one year in case of a second violation. In case of a third violation, his or her accreditation would be cancelled permanently, the ministry had said.

 

The move soon attracted a huge outcry in the media industry. Some journalist even decided to call a meeting calling the move undemocratic. Here are some of the comments by veteran journalists:


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Senior journalist Suhasini Haider said:

“But those who are penalised by today’s order, by definition, can only be those who are accredited and they can be penalised on the basis of a “complaint”, not a final decision. I can’t imagine that’s fair, Ma’am.”

 

Journalist Barkha Dutt also voiced her concerns tweeting:

 



The Congress, the CPM and many others raised questions over the move and said the government was trying to muzzle press freedom and suppress uncomfortable news about the government.

Amid this escalating issue, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) stepped in and advised the I&B Ministry to withdraw the order and let the Press Council of India handle fake news issue.

 

After PMO’s intervention, I&B Ministry withdrew its PR. Also, another clarification notice was published stating:

“Clarification” issued on Tuesday, the ministry said, “This is to inform that the Press release on Fake news regulation issued yesterday i.e., 02 April 2018 stands withdrawn.”

 

Following the withdrawal, Minister Smriti Irani tweeted about the debate regarding the accreditation of the journalists. Here is what she said:

 

 


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Do you think it’s a genuine effort from government to check fake news or to restrict the news uncomfortable for the government? Let’s know your comments below.