I&B ministry's guidelines against fake news: Smriti Irani says Centre willing to engage with journalists' bodies to fight menace

A day after the information and broadcasting ministry put out guidelines against fake news, Union minister Smriti Irani said that the Centre is willing to engage with journalists' bodies or organisations to fight the 'menace'.

FP Staff April 03, 2018 13:09:19 IST
I&B ministry's guidelines against fake news: Smriti Irani says Centre willing to engage with journalists' bodies to fight menace

A day after the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry issued guidelines against fake news, Union minister Smriti Irani said that the Centre is willing to engage with journalists' bodies or organisations to fight the "menace".

Irani took to Twitter on Tuesday to address debates that kicked up after the guidelines were released. "PIB accreditation guidelines asking Press Council of India (PCI) and News Broadcasters' Association (NBA) to define and act against 'fake news' have generated debate," she said.

Inviting suggestions to further strengthen the measures, Irani said that those interested can meet her at the ministry headquarters in New Delhi.

Meanwhile, several sections of the media reported that the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) intervened in the matter, directing the ministry to withdraw its guidelines. Earlier on Monday, the government said the accreditation of journalists could be permanently cancelled if s/he is found generating or propagating fake news, under stringent measures formulated to contain the menace.

As per the guidelines for accreditation of journalists, if a publication or telecast of fake news is confirmed, the accreditation of that journalist would be suspended for a period of six months in the first violation and for one year in case of a second violation. In case of a third violation, his/her accreditation would be cancelled permanently, the ministry said in a release.

Congress leader Ahmed Patel questioned the Centre's attempt to check fake news, and asked whether the move was aimed at preventing journalists from reporting news "uncomfortable to the establishment". He also asked who would determine if a reported news item is "fake" and expressed apprehension that rules might be misused to harass reporters. Responding to him, Irani tweeted back, saying:

With inputs from PTI

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