The proposed amendments to the clause include provisions to take punitive action against news published out of “bad intent” and “fake news”.
New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government has decided to put a leash on “fake news” or “wrong reporting” by denying official advertisements to erring media outlets.
Sources said that Clause 25 of the New Print Media Advertisement Policy, 2016, which deals with issues of suspension and recovery, will be amended to stop the release of Directorate of Advertising & Visual Publicity (DAVP) advertisements to organisations that indulge in “unethical” reporting.
The proposed amendments to the clause include provisions to take punitive action against news published out of “bad intent” and “fake news”. However, no definition of “bad intent” and “fake news” is immediately available. Whether a news report will invite punitive action remains open to interpretation by DAVP officials.
The DAVP is expected to seek the help of Press Council of India and Press Information Bureau in weeding out such news, sources said.
The ban on releasing official advertisements to erring media outlets will be for a specified period that will depend on the seriousness of “misreporting”.
The information and broadcasting ministry had last year unveiled anew advertisement policy in which it had decided to check the circulation figures of newspapers and periodicals with the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) or Registrar of Newspapers for India (RNI) before releasing official advertisements.
Currently, Clause 25 of the print media policy states that a newspaper may be suspended from empanelment by the DAVP if it is found to have deliberately submitted false information regarding circulation or found to have discontinued its publication, changed its periodicity or its title or have become irregular or changed its premises/press without due intimation.
A publication can also face action in case it fails to submit an annual return to the RNI or its annual circulation certificate from the prescribed agencies.
Action can also be taken, if the Press Council of India find a publication indulging in “anti-national” activities. Refusing to carry an advertisement issued by the DAVP on more than two occasions also invites a penalty.