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Govt withdrawal of fake news press release victory of democracy, media: Congress

Journalists found guilty of writing or broadcasting “fake news” will have their accreditation withdrawn for a limited period or permanently, the Union ministry of information and broadcasting had said on Monday.

india Updated: Apr 03, 2018 15:44 IST
Press Trust of India, New Delhi
Fake News,fake news order,Narendra Modi
The Information and Broadcasting ministry said the accreditation of a journalist could be permanently cancelled if the scribe was found generating or propagating fake news.(Getty Images/iStockphoto/Representative Image)

Senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil said on Tuesday that the Centre’s withdrawal of a press release on ‘fake news’ within 24 hours of issuing it was a victory of democracy and the media.

Through the press release on fake news, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry had attempted to bring restrictions on the media’s autonomy, he alleged.

“The government had to withdraw it (the press release) within 24 hours and this is a big victory of democracy and the media. I congratulate all journalists who unitedly opposed the decision,” said Vikhe Patil, the Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.

“In the name of fake news, the government had sought to impose restrictions on the autonomy of the media,” he said in a tweet posted in Marathi.

The Information and Broadcasting ministry said the accreditation of a journalist could be permanently cancelled if the scribe was found generating or propagating fake news.

Once the complaint is registered for determination of fake news, the accreditation of the journalist, whoever “created and/or propagated” the fake news, will be suspended till the determination regarding the fake news is made, the ministry had said.

However, the press release did not define what is fake news.

The guidelines drew sharp reaction from the opposition Congress and journalists.

The Prime Minister’s Office on Tuesday ordered the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to withdraw its press release on fake news, holding that the decision on what constitutes fake news should be left to press bodies.

According to official sources, the PMO felt that the government should not interfere in the matter.

Following orders from the PMO, the central ministry withdrew the guidelines to regulate fake news.

First Published: Apr 03, 2018 15:44 IST