New Delhi: In a move to curb circulation of fake news in India, after Malaysia, the Union Government had announced on Monday that the Journalist’s accreditation will be suspended on the charges of fake news.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had today issued directives of withdrawing the press statement released by the I&B Ministry on the new guidleines.
The directives came in just minutes after I&B Minister Irani tweeted that her ministry “is “is more than happy to engage with” journalists who want to check the fake news.
.@MIB_India is more than happy to engage with journalist body or organisation/s wanting to give suggestions so that together we can fight the menace of ‘fake news’ & uphold ethical journalism. Interested journalists and/or organisations may feel free to meet me at @MIB_India. 2/2
— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) April 3, 2018
The PMO said the Press Council of India, should be addressing fake news issues since it is the regulatory body for print journalism.
“If the publication or telecast of fake news is confirmed, 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,” read the guidelines issued by the Union Government.
And propagating the fake news could even end in cancellation of the Journalist’s accreditation permanently if confirmed for the third time it had said.
Press Council of India (PCI) and the News Broadcasters Association (NBA), will be administering the news to determine fake from the original news said the statement issued by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.
Adding that these two regulatory bodies will complete the determination within 15 days of registration of complaint, the ministry said.
However, the ministry did not clarify on which regulatory body will be deciding on which news is a fake news.
Meanwhile Congress, CPM said that the new guidelines pertaining to check the circulation of fake news by the Government is only to stop the press freedom and suppress uncomfortable news about the government.
Rajya Sabha Member and Congress leader Ahmed Patel did raise quite a few good questions about the new guidelines on the determination of the fake news. He asked whether the move was “an attempt to prevent genuine reporters from reporting news uncomfortable to establishment.”
I appreciate the attempt to control fake news but few questions for my understanding:
1.What is guarantee that these rules will not be misused to harass honest reporters?
2.Who is going to decide what constitutes fake news ?
— Ahmed Patel (@ahmedpatel) April 2, 2018
Many journalists believe this is ruling party’s strategy to suppress reporters from reporting the genuine news.
Senior journalist Shekhar Gupta has termed the move “breathtaking assault” on Journalists comparing this move with former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s proposed anti-defamation bill.
“Make no mistake: this is a breathtaking assault on mainstream media. It’s a moment like Rajiv Gandhi’s anti-defamation bill. All media should bury their differences and resist this,” Gupta had tweeted.
Now the question remains was this move to suppress genuine journalism or it is a strategy to convict genuine reporters from exercising their public service towards the Indian citizens.