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Published On: Tue, Apr 3rd, 2018

Censorship fears: PMO asks Smriti Irani to withdrew the “Fake News” guidelines

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445639-smritiirani700NEW DELHI : Coming out as a recent development in the ‘fake news’ case where the Information and Broadcasting Ministry (I&B) had issued a press release stating that a journalist’s accreditation be suspended if found circulating fake news,

The Prime Minister Modi on Tuesday directed that the press release on ‘fake news’ be withdrawn, and that the matter should be addressed only in the Press Council of India, according to sources in the PMO.
Following this, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry withdrew the press release.PMO has issued new directives to the I&B Ministry asking them to withdraw the memo issued.

Reportedly, the press release issued by the broadcasting ministry had drawn widespread criticism following which PM Modi’s office had directed the withdrawal of the guidelines. Apart from scrapping the newly issued guidelines, the PMO further said that all the issues pertaining to fake news or propagandas be only addressed by Press Council of India (PCI) which is the regulatory body for print media.

The Following directives by PMO came in just a few minutes after Smriti Irani took to her Twitter handle and said that the I7B Ministry is ‘more than happy to engage with journalists who want to check with fake news’.
After the PMO intervention, the Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani on Tuesday tweeted, “PIB Accreditation Guidelines asking Press Council of India & News Broadcasters Association to define & act against ‘fake news’ have generated debate. Several journalists & organisations have reached out giving positive suggestions regarding the same.”
“.@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,” she added.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting headed by Smriti Irani on Monday amended the guidelines for accreditation of journalists. Accreditation of a journalist (both television and print) can be cancelled/annulled if the news reported by them is found to be “fake,” said the Ministry.
“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,” a press note from the Ministry had said.

The following developments come to light just a few hours after the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) headed by Union Minister Smriti Irani stated that the accreditation of a journalist spreading the fake news will be suspended.

As per the directive, a journalist’s accreditation will be suspended for be suspended for 6 months for a first violation, one year for second and will be permanently cancelled in case of third violation.

The statement by the I&B Ministry said that the regulatory agencies will examine whether the ‘Norms of Journalistic Conduct’ and ‘Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards’ prescribed by the PCI and NBA respectively are adhered to by the journalists.

Congress leader Ahmed Patel on Sunday questioned the government’s attempt to check fake news, asking whether it was aimed at preventing journalists from reporting news uncomfortable to the establishment.(With Agency Inputs ).

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