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KCR found fault with the Centre's decision to cancel the accreditation of journalists accused of filing fake news items.

Centre should protect freedom of press Telangana CM KCR on fake news circularImage: Facebook/Telangana CMO
news Controversy Tuesday, April 03, 2018 - 15:24

Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on Tuesday said the central government has a responsibility to protect press freedom without violating the basic civil rights.

He found fault with the Centre's decision to cancel the accreditation of journalists accused of filing fake news items, hours before the Modi-government decided to withdraw the controversial order.

In a statement on Tuesday, he said that there were already laws to deal with those writing fake and baseless news.

"By stating that accreditation of journalists will be cancelled under the pretext of curbing fake news is now sending disturbing signals among thousands of journalists in the country," the Chief Minister said.

After widespread criticism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday withdrew his government's order within hours, after it threatened to take away the accreditation of journalists found propagating fake news.

"(The) Prime Minister has directed that the press release regarding fake news be withdrawn and the matter should only be addressed in the Press Council of India," an official source told IANS.

The order issued on Monday night warned that journalists would be denied access to the government even on mere accusations of spreading fake news and could lose their accreditation for a limited period or permanently.

The circular said that when it receives complaints of fake news, it would get referred to the Press Council of India and the News Broadcasters Association, and the journalist’s accreditation would be suspended.

“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,” the circular said.

Journalists and opposition parties took a serious note of the order issued by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and described the guidelines as an attack on press freedom. 

They also pointed out that the circular offered no clarity on what would be considered fake news.

 

IANS inputs

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