15 June, 2021

Squint Eye On The Postcard Boys

Can a government be serious about controlling the flow of fake news when its own supporters are among the main originators of misinformation?

Monk & Yogi
As a pro-Modi website, Postcard News has a legion of followers
Squint Eye On The Postcard Boys

Had it come a day earlier, it could have been dismissed as an International Fools Day joke. But the ever-ebullient Smriti Irani, who now presides over the ministry of information and broadcasting, was deadly serious about the April 2 guidelines to check the spread of fake news—and she made it clear in a series of tweets.

The guidelines were brought in as amendme­nts to the rules governing accreditation of jou­rnalists. Actually, they created a law that laid down the procedure to investigate complaints relating to fake news and prescribed the punishment to be awarded to the offenders. The law was beset with several problems. One of them was it assumed, without any justification, that the offenders will be accredited journalists. It is well known that fake news originates and circulates mainly on social media platforms, whose personnel are not entitled to accreditation.

The guidelines entrusted the task of investigating complaints to the Press Council of India and the News Broadcasters Association. The PCI is a body authorised by law to look into...

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