The Prime Minister Office has directed the Information & Broadcasting Ministry to withdraw its order on the fake news. On Monday, the ministry had issued an order that accreditation of a journalist could be permanently cancelled if found generating or propagating fake news. The order had attracted criticism of not just the journalist fraternity but also of the Opposition.
According to official sources, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has now directed that the press release regarding fake news be withdrawn and any decision on fake news should be taken by bodies like the Press Council of India and the News Broadcasters Association.
Earlier, an emergency meeting was called by journalist at the Press Club of India this afternoon.
As per the guidelines, which now stands rolled back, the accreditation of a journalist would have been suspended for a period of six months in the first violation and for one year in case of a second violation if the publication or telecast of fake news was confirmed.
In case of a third violation, his or her accreditation would have been cancelled permanently.
Congress leader Ahmed Patel had also questioned the move, asking whether it was aimed at preventing journalists from reporting news uncomfortable to the establishment. He also asked who will determine if a reported news item is “fake” and expressed apprehension that rules might be misused to harass reporters.
Union I&B minister Smriti Irani, however, responded to him saying the Press Council of India (PCI) and the News Broadcasters Association (NBA), both of which are not controlled by the government, will ascertain whether a news is fake or not.
(With inputs from PTI)