The Vishwa Hindu Parishad on Tuesday joined several others in criticising the Centre’s order from a day earlier that said journalists accused of reporting or propagating fake news will lose press accreditation till regulating agencies confirm the validity of the complaint.

Faced with mounting criticism from political leaders as well as citizens overnight, the Centre withdrew the order on Tuesday.

The VHP’s International Working President Pravin Togadia called the Centre’s initial move an “undeclared emergency”, PTI reported. He said the media was the fourth pillar of democracy, and curtailing its voice in any way was dangerous for the rights of citizens.

“We strongly condemn this undemocratic move by the government,” he said in a statement, adding that those who opposed “such emergency for 52 years have started behaving this way after coming to power”. “This is a dangerous tendency by the rulers, and we fear it could even manifest in other areas of common people’s lives.”

On Monday evening, the government said it had amended the Guidelines for Accreditation of Journalists “noticing the increasing instances of fake news in various mediums including print and electronic media”. The new rules had said journalists accused of reporting or propagating fake news will lose their press accreditation till the Press Council of India (for print media) and News Broadcasters Association (for electronic media) verifies the complaint against them.

The order had said that if the agencies found truth to the complaint, the journalist would lose accreditation for six months for the first violation, for a year for the second violation and permanently for a third violation.