Now, Diktat For Online News: Government Trying To Control Media?

PUBLISHED ON: April 6, 2018 | Duration: 25 min, 49 sec

  
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Why is a free press so important in a democracy like ours? And why should governments stay out of any regulation of the media? Because we have to hold governments accountable for what they do. And if the government begins to have a say in how the media should be regulated, then we have a big problem. That's not to say the media should not be regulated. Of course it should, but it cannot be done by the government. So when Smriti Irani, the Information and Broadcasting Minister, came out with an order to crackdown on 'fake news' earlier this week, there was a huge media backlash because if she had had her way, journalists could have lost their accreditation based on a mere complaint by anyone, even the government. The Prime Minister had to step in and the idea was scrapped. Now, Smriti Irani has another idea - she's constituted a committee to frame rules to regulate news and media websites. It is a 10-member committee comprising the secretaries of various ministries and others, but there is no representation from the digital media. There is also a raging row right now over the reconstituted Press Council of India that looks at the print media. The revamped council has mostly government friendly faces, so is there a pattern? Is the government trying to control the media?
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