Within 24 hours of its release, Prime Minister Narendra Modi withdrew new rules announcing punishment for journalists accused of creating or propagating what the government deemed to be “fake news”. Instead, an announcement made it clear that all issues with respect to misinformation would be dealt with by the Press Council of India, the regulating agency for print media.
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Issued by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry of India, the new rules had stated that journalists would lose their accreditation if they were found guilty of writing or broadcasting “fake news” stories. The new rules said journalists would have their government accreditation withdrawn for a limited period or permanently, depending on the frequency of violation.
Modi’s retraction came after several journalists criticised the rules on the grounds that they did not define what constitutes “fake news” and did not include social and online media, NDTV reported.
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A number of regulatory bodies including the Press Club of India, Press Association, and the Federation of Press Clubs released a joint statement saying they welcomed the retraction, the Business Line reported.