Questions we need to ask Smriti Irani and the govt

Fake News Crackdown Highlights Broadcasting Ministry Withdraws The Circular On New Rules For Journalists

Fake news The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has now withdrawn the circular

It also said that the Guild acknowledges the intervention of the prime minister but remains "deeply disturbed" that faith continues to be reposed on the Press Council of India (PCI) to deliver justice on such issues.

"PIB Accreditation Guidelines asking Press Council of India & News Broadcasters Association to define & act against "fake" news' have generated debate".

The Narendra Modi government on Tuesday morning quickly moved to arrest the damage purportedly done by Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani, directing that an order released by the I&B ministry at 9.03pm on Monday be withdrawn.

The fake news problem will be dealt with by the Press Council of India (PCI), Modi ordered.

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry had said the government would withdraw accreditation of journalists who peddle fake news.

"Noticing the increasing instances of fake news in various mediums including print and electronic media, the Government has amended the Guidelines for Accreditation of Journalists. That is something that the ministry is now undertaking, and in conversations with stakeholders", she had said then. The article, on a website called The True Picture, accused "sections of the media" of supporting the opposition and trying to portray the government and the Bharatiya Janata Party in a bad light.

"The first thing to realise is that such measures of the government have absolutely nothing to do with the stated objective because they are the biggest perpetrators of the fake news", Mr Shourie said.

The Congress said fascism has touched its peak as it sought to "muzzle" independent voices through "fallacious" rules.

"The government has no mandate to control the press", Gautam Lahiri, president of the Press Club of India, told journalists.

Meanwhile, several sections of the media reported that the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) intervened in the matter, directing the ministry to withdraw its guidelines. The AAP and CPI-M likened the situation to the "emergency".

According to the new rule, a journalist's accreditation will be suspended the moment there is a complaint of fake news. However, it is to be noted that the definition of fake news is not yet clarified by the government.

He hopes that it will lead to the setting up of a "trusted media label" in a world increasingly assaulted by fake news.

The journalists fear the controversial guidelines would be used to harass journalists.

Mr Modi's quick withdrawal of the information ministry's notification has raised some eyebrows, while others expressed cautious optimism. There were also concerns over what would constitute fake news since the ministry hadn't offered a definition. Now formal emergency. Who is govt to regulate press?

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