Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday directed that the press release issued by his government on the regulation of fake news be withdrawn and that the matter be handled exclusively by the Press Council of India, ANI reported.
On Monday, the Centre had said journalists accused of reporting or propagating fake news will lose their press accreditation till regulating agencies confirm the validity of the complaint.
The Centre’s press release had stated that if the agencies – Press Council of India for print media and News Broadcasters Association for electronic media – find the complaint to be true, the journalist will lose accreditation for six months for the first violation. A second violation would get the journalist’s accreditation suspended for a year, and a third violation would take it away permanently.
The press release had said the government had amended the Guidelines for Accreditation of Journalists, “noticing the increasing instances of fake news in various mediums including print and electronic media”.
The guidelines had triggered criticism on social media and from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-led government’s Opposition rivals.
Earlier in the day, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Smriti Irani acknowledged that the Centre’s guidelines on fake news had generated debate. “Several journalists and organisations have reached out giving positive suggestions regarding the same,” Irani tweeted. “The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is is more than happy to engage with journalist body or organisation/s wanting to give suggestions.”