In a bid to tackle fake news circulating on several platforms, the Centre on Monday introduced amended guidelines for journalists. Under the new rules, journalists can lose accreditation permanently on being found guilty of generating or propagating fake news. However, hours after the guidelines were issued, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked it to be withdrawn.
“Noticing the increasing instances of fake news in various mediums including print and electronic media, the Government has amended the Guidelines for Accreditation of Journalists. Now on receiving any complaints of such instances of fake news, the same would get referred to the Press Council of India (PCI) if it pertains to print media and to News Broadcasters Association (NBA) if it relates to electronic media, for determination of the news item being fake or not,” said a statement released by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
As per the new guidelines, if the publication or telecast of fake news is confirmed, the accreditation of the 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, the accreditation would be cancelled permanently.
“Determination is expected to be completed within 15 days by these regulating agencies. Once the complaint is registered for determination of fake news, the correspondent/journalist whoever created and/or propagated the fake news will, if accredited, have the accreditation suspended till such time the determination regarding the fake news is made by the regulating agencies mentioned above,” added the release.
The Accreditation Committee of the Press Information Bureau (PIB) will consists of representatives from both PCI and NBA and will refered to for validating any accreditation request of any news media agency.
“While examining the requests seeking accreditation, the regulatory agencies will examine whether the `Norms of Journalistic Conduct’ and `Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards’ prescribed by the PCI and NBA respectively are adhered to by the journalists as part of their functioning. It would be obligatory for journalists to abide by these guidelines,” said the Ministry.