A step too far

'Fake news' rules will damage press freedom

Business Standard Editorial Comment Mumbai
fake news

The Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, or MeitY, has shared a draft proposal that aims to combat fake news in the country. The ministry has suggested that the Press Information Bureau, an agency of the Union government, be given the powers to determine that certain pieces of information hosted by online intermediaries — in other words, on social media and other web sites — are “fake”. This information, which the ministry indicated would be related to the government and its functioning, would then have to be taken down. This proposal was introduced as a postscript to rules being framed to regulate online gaming, which is an odd place for something with such far-reaching implications. Nor does it have to be only the PIB that is granted such powers because the draft proposal also suggests that “any … agency authorised by the government for fact-checking” could do this.
This has led to underst

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First Published: Jan 22 2023 | 10:36 PM IST

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