Prime Minister Narendra Modi (File | PTI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi (File | PTI)

Prime Minister's Office asks Information and Broadcasting Ministry to withdraw release on fake news

According to the PMO, any decision on fake news should be taken by bodies like the Press Council of India and the News Broadcasters Association, official sources said.

NEW DELHI: Following sharp criticism from various quarters, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday has directed that the press release regarding ‘fake news’ be withdrawn, and that the matter should only be addressed in the Press Council of India.

Sources claimed that the direction from the PMO came after massive reactions on various media platforms.

In a bid to stop the dissemination of fake news, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry on Monday had amended the guidelines for accreditation of journalists. Officials claimed that the initiative were taken following instances of fake news on media platforms.

As per the new guidelines, “Once the complaint is registered for determination of fake news the correspondent or journalist whoever created or photographed 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,” said the amended guidelines.  

However, the initiative received sharp criticism with many terming it as an step to muzzle the media.
Congress senior leader Ahmed Patel reacted asking whether it was aimed at preventing journalists from reporting news uncomfortable to the establishment.

“I appreciate the attempt to control fake news but few questions for my understanding: 1. What is guarantee that these rules will not be misused to harass honest reporters? 2. Who is going to decide what constitutes fake news? 3. Is it not possible that motivated complaints will be filed to suspend accreditation until enquiry is on? 4. What is guarantee that these guidelines will check fake news or is it an attempt to prevent genuine reporters from reporting news uncomfortable to establishment?” Patel asked on Twitter.

However, Irani on Tuesday tweeted, “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.”

The New Indian Express