Journalists' Forum Assam (JFA), while reacting to the recent debates over government initiatives to curb the menace of fake news in various media outlets, advocates for empowering the Press Council of India (PCI) comprising the print, electronic and alternate/social media and also renaming the quasi-judicial body as Media Council of India (MCI).
It may be noted that the information and broadcasting ministry lately declared that the accreditation of a journalist might be cancelled if (s)he was found spreading fake news. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi directed the ministry to withdraw the harsh guidelines and commented that the matter should be addressed by the PCI.
According to the I&B ministry guidelines, the complaint of intentional false news published in newspapers were scheduled for referring to the PCI, where as in case of television news contents, it was directed to be referred to the News Broadcasters Association (NBA).
"As there was no mention of alternate or social media in the I&B ministry order, which is otherwise aggressively engulfing the Indian public domain, we urge the government to go for an empowered MCI to deal with the new found menace in a comprehensive manner," said a statement issued by JFA president Rupam Barua and secretary Nava Thakuria.
The scribe's forum, in another aspect, however pointed that journalism should (must) go beyond the government recognition. Numerous committed journalists in rural India have been pursuing critical journalism without the accreditation and thus they have shown the real spirit of journalism, concluded the statement.