Regulators

PMO directs MIB to withdraw guidelines on fake news

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MUMBAI: The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has ordered the withdrawal of guidelines to crack down on journalists responsible for distributing fake news, a senior government official said today.

“The prime minister has directed that the press statement regarding fake news be withdrawn and the matter be addressed in the Press Council of India,” a senior official in Modi’s office told news agency Reuters. No reason was given.

On Monday, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) had issued a statement stating that noticing increasing instances of fake news in various mediums, including print and electronic, the guidelines for accreditation of journalists have been amended with penalties and punishment factored in.

“On receiving any complaints of instances of fake news, the same would get referred to the Press Council of India (PCI) if it pertains to print media and to News Broadcasters Association (NBA) of India if it relates to electronic media for determination of the news item being fake or not,” the MIB statement had said, adding that the process would be completed within 15 days.

Even as the government announced amendments in the guidelines for accreditation of print and electronic or TV journalists outlining punishments for breaches on account of fake news, the intention was termed by stakeholders as debatably honourable but an indirect way to muzzle media freedom.

Welcoming the decision, News Broadcasters Association has issued a statement. The move has been lauded for letting industry bodies such as NBA and Press Council of India(PCI) to decide all Fake News related issues as it was proposed by Smriti Irani earlier.

Also Read: MIB issues stringent norms on fake news in TV & print media

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