In a big u-turn, Prime Minister's office of has directed Smriti Irani-led Information and Brodcasting Ministry to leave the final decision on recent law of fake news on press bodies.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has nixed the Information and Broadcasting Ministry’s move to blacklist journalists for writing fake news. As per reports, the Prime Minister’s office has directed Smriti Irani-led Information and Broadcasting Ministry to leave the final decision on recent law on fake news on press bodies.
In a surprise move, the I&B ministry had amended guidelines for journalists’ accreditation. A press release of the ministry said on Monday that if a journalist is found to have “created and/or propagated” fake news, her/his accreditation would be suspended or permanently cancelled.
The press release said that the responsibility of determining whether a news item is fake or not would lie with the Press Council of India and the News Broadcasters Association (NBA). Both these bodies regulate the print and TV media in the country.
It further said that determination is expected to be completed within 15 days. “Determination is expected to be completed within 15 days by these regulating agencies. Once the complaint is registered for determination of fake news, the correspondent or 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 regulating agencies mentioned above,” the press release read.
The release added that if any of the agencies confirm the publication or telecast of fake news, the accreditation shall be suspended for a period of six 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.
Further, the ministry justified the changes. It had said: “While examining the requests seeking accreditation, 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 as part of their functioning. It would be obligatory for journalists to abide by these guidelines”.
I&B minister Smriti Irani tweeted today: “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.”