#ParliamentWatch: Press Council of India received 447 complaints of fake news during 2018-2019, Central Government informs Lok Sabha

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]HE Central Government, in response to a question asked by Member of Parliament (MP) Asaduddin Owaisi,  today informed the Lok Sabha that a total of 447 complaints had been received by Press Council of India (PCI) regarding fake news during 2018-2019.

Owaisi had asked the following questions of Minister of Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javedkar-

  • whether the government has taken note of the issue of fake news and if so, the number of cases of fake news which have come to the notice of the Government so far;
  • whether the government has chalked out a plan to address the issue and punish the guilty; and
  • if so, the details thereof and time by which a proper law in this regard is likely to be enforced?

Responding to the questions, the minister informed the Lok Sabha that instances of fake news in media had indeed come to the notice of the government from time to time. He said the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology had also taken note of media reports about the spread of fake news, misinformation/ disinformation on the internet, particularly using the WhatsApp platform.

He added that the PCI had framed “Norms of Journalistic Conduct” for the media to adhere to while publishing accurate and fair news. The PCI, he said,  also had an institutional mechanism for redressing any complaints received by it, in accordance with the Press Council (Procedure for Inquiry) Regulations, 1979, that enabled it to warn, admonish or censure a newspaper, news agency, editor or journalist.

With regard to the electronic media, Javedkar said that the Cable Television Networks (Regulations) Act, 1995 and the Rules made thereunder provided that no programme could be broadcast which contained anything obscene, defamatory, deliberate and false with innuendoes and half-truths. Their monitoring was done through a system of self-regulation by the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) and the National Broadcasting Association (NBA) and the Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC) of Indian Broadcasting

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