New Delhi: In a snub to the information and broadcasting minister, Ms Smriti Irani, after a controversial “fake news” directive, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stepped in and ordered the withdrawal of the order.
Soon after the directive from the PMO, the ministry issued a statement, saying guidelines issued late last night by it “to regulate fake news stands withdrawn”. In a late night development on Monday, the I&B ministry had announced punitive measures like cancellation of accreditation to contain fake news, a decision which was dubbed by journalist and opposition parties as an attempt to curb press freedom ahead of the general elections due by 2019.
A protest against the Draconian measure was also held at the Press Club of India where representatives from several media and print journalist associations were present. “The government has no mandate to control the press. The media were also worried about growing incidents of fake news but the Press Council is the right platform to deal with complaints regarding any fake news,” president of the Press Club of India Gautam Lahiri said.
The I&B ministry decision also drew sharp criticism from the opposition. The Congress claimed that the move had shown that fascism has touched its peak.