April 3, 2018 / 7:34 AM / 5 months ago

India withdraws move to crack down on journalists publishing fake news

NEW DELHI (UPDATE: India drops plan to punish journalists for 'fake news' following outcry)

(Reuters) - Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ordered the withdrawal of a move to crack down on journalists responsible for distributing fake news, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: Television journalists report from the premises of India's Parliament in New Delhi, India, February 13, 2014. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/File Photo

“The prime minister has directed that the press statement regarding fake news be withdrawn and the matter be addressed in the Press Council of India,” a senior official in Modi’s office told Reuters. No reason was given.

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry had said the government would withdraw accreditation of journalists who peddle fake news.

Journalists and opposition parties had described the rules as an effort by Modi’s government to control the press ahead of a general election due by next year.

Reporting by Manoj Kumar; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan

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