If a journalist is found peddling fake news then he or she could permanently lose accreditation, the government has said. In a bid to curb the menace of fake news, the government has amended the guidelines for the accreditation of journalists.
If the publication or telecast of fake news is confirmed, the accreditation of that journalist would be suspended for a period of six months in the first violation and for one year in case of a second violation.
In case of a third violation, his or her accreditation would be cancelled permanently, the information and broadcasting government said in a release.
It said any complaint of instances of fake news would be referred to the Press Council of India (PCI), if it pertains to print media, and to the News Broadcasters Association (NBA), if it relates to the electronic media, for determination of the news item is fake or not. This determination is expected to be completed within 15 days by these agencies, the government said.
Once the complaint is registered for determination of fake news, the accreditation of the journalist, whoever "created and/or propagated" the fake news, will be suspended till the determination regarding the fake news is made, the ministry said.
The Accreditation Committee of the Press Information Bureau (PIB), which consists of representatives of both the PCI and the NBA, would be reached out for validating any accreditation request of any news media agency, it said.
While examining the requests seeking accreditation, the regulatory agencies would check whether the 'Norms of Journalistic Conduct' and 'Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards', prescribed by the PCI and NBA respectively, are adhered to by the journalists as part of their functioning, the government said. It would be obligatory for journalists to abide by these guidelines, it said.