New Delhi: The Information and Broadcasting Ministry on Tuesday withdrew its contentious press release on fake news after a directive from the Prime Minister’s Office. “PIB Press Release titled ‘Guidelines for Accreditation of Journalists amended to regulate Fake News’ issued on 02 April 2018 stands withdrawn,” the ministry said in a brief statement.
Taking note of condemnation from various quarters, the PMO had ordered the ministry to withdraw the release, holding that the decision on what amounts to fake news should be left to press bodies.
According to official sources, the PMO also felt that the government should not interfere in the matter. The ministry had yesterday announced measures to contain fake news saying the accreditation of a journalist could be permanently cancelled if the scribe is found generating or propagating fake news.
The amended guidelines stated that if the publication or telecast of fake news was confirmed, accreditation of the journalist would be suspended for six months in the first violation and for one year in case of a second violation.
In case of a third violation, his or her accreditation would be cancelled permanently, the information and broadcasting ministry said in a release. However, the press release did not define what is fake news.
Hours after the official release yesterday, Congress leader Ahmed Patel had questioned the government’s attempt to check fake news, asking whether it was aimed at preventing journalists from reporting news uncomfortable to the establishment.