Action On Fake News "Cannot Be Left To Governments" Says Editors' Guild

The information ministry's order on fake news, which came late last night, was widely condemned by top editors and the opposition parties. This morning, Smriti Irani tweeted to say she was open to suggestions on how to "fight the menace of fake news".

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Action On Fake News 'Cannot Be Left To Governments' Says Editors' Guild

Journalists held a meeting in Delhi after the government announced new rule on fake news.


New Delhi:  The Editors' Guild took a strong stand today in the debate over government action on fake news, saying it is something that "cannot be left to governments to initiate action". The reason, the Guild said was that often, the governments and parties in power at the Centre and states "are charged with propagating fake news themselves".

The Guild's statement came as the Prime Minister's Office intervened to shelve the rule by Union minister Smriti Irani's Information ministry, less than 24 hours after it was introduced.

The ministry's order, which came late last night, was widely condemned by top editors and the opposition parties, who called it the government's attempt to control the media in an election year. This morning, Ms Irani tweeted to say she was open to suggestions on how to "fight the menace of fake news".

The Editors' Guild, while acknowledging the swift rollback of the order by the Prime Minister's Office, said: "News organisations are not the only source of generation of fake news with the country awash with digital platforms of all hues and opinions that operate without constraints and have the potential to cause far more damage".

While the country's fast growing social media has often been blamed for the fast spread of fake news, the ministry order had only held journalists accountable for fake news. It also provided for stringent punishment, which included suspension and even cancellation of accreditation for repeat offenders.

The Prime Minister's office has reportedly said the question of checking fake news should be left to media watchdogs Press Council of India and the National Broadcasters' Association.

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