Rajdeep Sardesai: Government showed its true face over circular to media
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Updated: 04 Apr, 2018 06:52 PM

Government showed its true face over circular to media

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Under the guise of going after purveyors of fake news, the I&B ministry seems to be targeting anti-government journalists.

Amid outrage, the government on April 3 withdrew a ministry of information and broadcasting (I&B) press release from the previous day that said journalists spreading “fake” news would have their Press Information Bureau (PIB) accreditation cancelled. Fake news is a genuine problem but let's not confuse that with the I&B ministry's circular which was a brazen attempt to send out a message to journalists to fall in line or else face complaints, which would lead to suspension. The government has been squarely embarrassed by what happened which is why the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) had to intervene. There is also a message in this for the government to not take people for granted. The government must understand we are all just as concerned with fake news as Smriti Irani ji. But the problem can't be handled with such ham-handed circulars that are patently illegal. The government, on its part, must first stop patronising Twitter handles and websites that are spreading fake news, and then start a healthy debate on the problem with all stakeholders. 

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