Facing flak on fake news guidelines, Govt withdraws press statement

There has been severe criticism of the new amended guidelines that call for suspending the accreditation of journalists found to be involved in creating fake news that were announced via a press statement by the Government yesterday (April 2, 2018). The massive outrage from all quarters has now put the Government on the backfoot and the Prime Minister’s Office has ordered the withdrawal of the said circular. 

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in its website also put up a note stating: “PIB Press release titled ‘Guidelines for Accreditation of Journalists amended to regulate Fake News’ issued on 02 April 2018 stands withdrawn.” 

Rajdeep Sardesai tweeted: “Breaking now: @PMOIndia calls for ‘withdrawing’ fake news circular. All one can say: der aye durust aye. #FakeNews.” 

As per media reports, a meeting is slated to be held at the Press Club of India in New Delhi today evening, where journalists will discuss the Government’s order. 

In its amendment to the Guidelines for Accreditation of Journalists, it was stated that on receiving any complaints of such instances of fake news, the same would get referred to the Press Council of India (PCI) if it pertains to print media and to the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) if it relates to electronic media, for determination of the news item being fake or not. These agencies are required to decide within 15 days whether a news item is fake or not. 

Once the complaint is registered for determination of fake news, the journalist whoever created or propagated the fake news will, if accredited, have the accreditation suspended till such time the determination regarding the fake news is made by the PCI or NBA. 

As per the guidelines, “While any confirmation of publication or telecast of fake news having been confirmed by any of these agencies, the accreditation shall be suspended for a period of 6 months in the first violation and for one year in the case of second violation and in the event of third violation, it would be cancelled permanently.”


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