The Information and broadcasting ministry has withdrawn the press released yesterday on the concern of fake news as per the direction by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). PMO stated that the fake news should only be addressed to the Press Council of India (PCI).
Yesterday, the I&B Ministry led by the Minister Smirti Irani had released a statement stating that the “Instances of fake news across various mediums, including print and electronic media” that proposed new guidelines in a press release.
If the fake news is confirmed, then the accreditation of that journalist would be suspended for six months for the first violation case, for one year in case of the second violation and if it is confirmed for the third time, then the journalist’s accreditation would be permanently cancelled.
The PMO directed to withdraw the press release soon after the I&B Minister Smirti Irani tweeted saying that her ministry will be happier to engage with the journalist who will give suggestion to fight the fake news with them.
.@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. 2/2
— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) April 3, 2018
However, the opposition and the whole journalists body criticised the new move saying that it will snatch away the freedom of the press. Sitaram Yechury, senior CPM leader describe the move as “duplicitious”.
He says, “We fought for press freedom during the emergency, then against the Defamation Bill. We condemn this duplicitious move of the Modi Government where in grab of fake news, it will attack all the news it finds uncomfortable. We stand for, and are committed to a free and independent press”.
We fought for Press freedom during the Emergency, then against the Defamation Bill. We condemn this duplicitous move of Modi govt where in the garb of Fake News, it will attack all the news it finds uncomfortable. We stand for, and are committed to a free and independent Press. pic.twitter.com/0pHAwuiYC5
— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) April 3, 2018