INS expresses concern about Government's move of stepping in as fact-checkers

States that the Press Information Bureau or an agency of the central Government would be ill-equipped to play this role

Jan 24, 2023 12:14:00 PM | Article | Campaign India Team

The Indian Newspaper Society has released a statement following the Government's proposed changes to the Information Technology Rules 2021.
 
One clause identifies the Press Information Bureau of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, or other agency authorised by the Government, as the body responsible for checking the factual accuracy of reports appearing on any social media intermediary in respect of any business of the central Government.
 
The society believes that this proposed amendment will impact the functioning of the press. The INS also believes that this change can give rise to 'mischief as it will allow the central Government to arm itself with powers to prescribe any criticism of its actions.' The statement also mentioned that the Press Information Bureau or an agency of the central Government would be ill-equipped to play this role.
 
The statement issued by INS added, "By legislating to become a judge in its own cause, the Government, through a proposed amendment to a set of rules which have otherwise also caused concern, is taking a step to effectively muzzle criticism and even fair comment."
 
Along with a request to drop the proposed amendment, the INS has also asked the ministry to consult with stakeholders to create a mechanism which, while ensuring factual accuracy of reports about the Government’s business on media sites, meets the highest standards of fairness and due process.