NEW DELHI: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi questioning the decision to withdraw the guidelines issued for journalists to control 'fake news'. Calling the issue a loss of control, he said: "Sensing mounting anger on the “fake news” notification, the PM orders a U-Turn on his own order. One can clearly see a loss of control and panic setting in now."
He tweeted with the hashtag #BasEkAurSaal keeping in mind the Lok Sabha elections that are due in 2019.
Sensing mounting anger on the “fake news” notification, the PM orders a U-Turn on his own order.
One can clearly see a loss of control and panic setting in now. #BasEkAurSaal
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) April 3, 2018
Hours after the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had on Monday issued guidelines for accreditation of journalists to regulate fake news, the Prime Minister directed that the press release be withdrawn. The PM said that the matter should only be addressed in Press Council of India.
In the release, the ministry had said: "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 & to News Broadcasters Association (NBA) if it relates to electronic media, for determination of the news item being fake or not."
Earlier in the day while addressing a public meeting in Karnataka, Rahul had also hit out at the Prime Minister for "not uttering a word" on the alleged atrocities on Dalits and tribals and "dilution" of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Rahul is currently in the fifth leg of his tour of the poll-bound Karnataka.
"Rohit Vemula is murdered. Dalits are beaten up in Una (Gujarat) but the Prime Minister does not speak a word on it. Atrocities on Dalits and tribals are increasing and the SC/ST act has been diluted. Modi prefers not to speak a word," he said.
Gandhi compared the status of SC/ST welfare in Karnataka with the Modi government's actions on the issue. He claimed that more than half of the money released by the Modi government across the country for SC/ST welfare was being spent by Karnataka itself on the Dalits and tribals.
Taking a jibe at Modi over the question paper leak in CBSe exams, Rahul said the PM wrote a book (Exam Warriors) telling children how to face the exam and also gave a lecture for two hours on how to prepare for exams.
He said children took the advice seriously and prepared for the exam with the help of their parents but when they went to appear for the exam, they were told that the exams were cancelled as the question paper was leaked.
"Modi may have failed in plugging the question paper leak but he may again lecture children how to prepare for exams and will tell them about the dos and don'ts during exam," said Gandhi.