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Government to deny official ads to papers publishing “fake news”

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Government to deny official ads to papers publishing “fake news”

The Indian government has decided to deny official advertisements to publications that indulge in “fake news” and “wrong reporting”, according to media reports.
According to report published in a leading newspaper, the government may amend Clause 25 of the New Print Media Advertisement Policy, 2016, which deals with issues of suspension and recovery, to stop the release of Directorate of Advertising & Visual Publicity (DAVP) advertisements to organisations that indulge in “unethical” reporting. The government also plans to penalise news organisations publishing out of “bad intent”, the report said.

However, terms like “bad intent”, “wrong reporting” and “fake news” remain ambiguous as no proper definitions are available yet. The DAVP is also looking forward to seek help from the Press Council of India and Press Information Bureau to weed out such news, the report said. 
Although, social media is flooded with fake news and remains barely regulated, recently national publications and news agencies like The Hindu, Press Trust of India and Asian News International also had to face embarrassment after being pointed out for giving out fake news.

The intention of the government appears to be clear in fighting the menace of fake news but this move could also pose as a threat to the freedom of press.

Last year, it was reported that the Rajasthan government had not issued ads to Rajasthan Patrika for being too critical towards the state government, following which the Supreme Court had to interfere and order the government to re-issue “ads to Patrika”.

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