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Acting on Fake News Good, But Judging Them Should be Left to Us: Press Council

In a press release issued Monday night, the I&B ministry announced punitive measures like cancellation of accreditation to contain fake news, a decision which was dubbed by journalist and opposition parties as an attempt to curb press freedom ahead of the 2019 general elections.

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Updated:April 3, 2018, 9:50 PM IST
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Acting on Fake News Good, But Judging Them Should be Left to Us: Press Council
Journalists' meet at the Press Club of India, New Delhi on April 03.
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New Delhi: The Press Council of India (PCI) Chairman on Tuesday issued a statement on the government’s bid to put a deterrent on ‘fake news’, saying, “remedial steps” to curb fake news by the government is “nothing wrong”, provided the authority to “decide the truthfulness or otherwise of an allegation of fake news” is trusted with an independent body like the PCI.

Faced with widespread criticism and outcry, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday ordered the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to cancel its contentious guidelines on fake news, seen as "muzzling" the free press.

In a press release issued Monday night, the I&B ministry announced punitive measures like cancellation of accreditation to contain fake news, a decision which was dubbed by journalist and opposition parties as an attempt to curb press freedom ahead of the 2019 general elections.

“Fake news is a global menace and if any Government intends to take remedial steps to check its spread, per se, there is nothing wrong or obnoxious about it, provided that the authority to decide the truthfulness or otherwise of an allegation of fake news is entrusted to an independent statutory body like, the Press Council of India,” read the statement issued by Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad, PCI Chariman.

In reference to the threat of journalist accreditations being cancelled, Prasad said, “… it is only in gross cases of fake news or repeated involvement in fake news dissemination that power to suspend or cancellation of accreditation of the journalists be resorted to.”

Amending the guidelines for accreditation of journalists, the ministry on Monday announced norms to contain fake news which said if the publication or telecast of fake news was confirmed, accreditation of the journalist would be suspended for six months in case of first violation and for one year in case of a second violation. In case of a third violation, his or her accreditation would be cancelled permanently, the ministry had said in a press release.

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| Edited by: Tarun Bhardwaj
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