Govt to crack down on fake news, cancel journalists’ accreditation. . .

Centre proposes 6 months’ suspension for a first violation, one year for a 2nd violation and permanent cancellation for a third violation.

New Delhi: The Centre is preparing to crack down on journalists releasing or propagating phony news. It plans to suspend and, for subsequent offenses, even cancel the federal government press accreditation offered to them if they publish/broadcast phony news.

A main statement from the details and broadcasting ministry Monday stated the federal government had modified the ‘Guidelines for Accreditation of Reporters’, considering the rising instances of fake news across media, particularly in papers and on TELEVISION channels.

The move, however, does not cover sites and social networks platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp which are frequently accused of publishing or spreading fake news.

The new procedure

As per the amended standards, any problem received about fake news in the print media would be described journalism Council of India (PCI), while those relating to the electronic media would be sent to the News Broadcasters’ Association (NBA). These bodies will then figure out if the product is undoubtedly fake within 15 days.

In the meantime, the journalist who composed or propagated the news product will have his or her accreditation suspended.

In case the news product is verified to be phony, the accreditation of the journalist concerned will be suspended for a period of 6 months for a first offense, and for one year in case of a second offense. For a third violation, the reporter will lose his/her accreditation completely.

What govt accreditation suggests to reporters

Press Details Bureau (PIB) accreditation entitles reporters to numerous advantages, including access to federal government structures and main functions.

The PIB has an accreditation committee that meets at routine periods. The declaration said if a news firm wants to put in accreditation demands for its reporters, it can connect to this committee, which includes representatives from the PCI and the NBA.

The regulative firms, while analyzing demands looking for accreditation, will also examine if ‘Standards of Journalistic Conduct’ and ‘Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards’ prescribed by the PCI and NBA respectively, are stuck to by the journalists as part of their regular functioning, the note said, adding that it would be obligatory for journalists to abide by these standards.

Incidentally, on Sunday, I&B minister Smriti Irani and several of her cabinet and party colleagues tweeted an article from a website which claimed to have actually busted 4 significant fake news stories in a week.

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