“Define an anti-national attitude; bring laws to counter fake news’: House Panel | Latest India News

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From the search for a definition of what constitutes an “anti-national” attitude, to the request to the Union’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) to explore a better system for evaluating points television viewing and the introduction of dedicated laws to fight fake news, the parliamentary panel on Information and Technology (IT) has recommended a series of reforms for traditional and digital media platforms, said on Saturday people familiar with the matter.

The panel, led by Congressman Shashi Tharoor, believes it is “a matter of grave concern that the media, which was once the most reliable weapon in the hands of citizens in our democracy and acted as custodians of the public interest, or gradually lose its credibility and integrity where values ​​and morals are compromised, ”one of those aware of the recommendations, asking not to be named.

The report is expected to be tabled during the winter session of Parliament, which begins on November 29.

The issues addressed in the report include instances of media breaches of the ethical code of conduct in the form of paid news, false information, manipulation of the TRP, media lawsuits, sensationalism and biased reporting. “(These) put a big question mark on its (media) credibility in people’s minds, which is not a good sign for a healthy democracy. A healthy democracy thrives on public participation, which is only possible through the dissemination of accurate information by responsible media, ”the person added.

The report commends the government for introducing new guidelines on social media and intermediaries, but also called for comments from the I&B Department on how the goals of their introduction have been met.

“The committee hopes that these guidelines will go a long way in regulating digital media content and that the two departments will work in a coherent and tandem manner to ensure that the code of ethics is followed by digital media as well,” the person said.

The panel was also informed that discussions are underway to introduce a framework statute for the media sector covering print, electronic and online platforms. The matter is under consideration. The Union government is considering framework legislation for all traditional and digital media companies to ensure a level playing field, HT reported on August 17. top or OTT platforms such as Netflix and Hotstar.

The committee also noted persistent concerns about fake news in some newspapers. “The Committee however notes with the greatest concern that lost newspapers tend to repeat the same mistakes, even after being censored by the Press Council of India (PCI), until action is taken. by the Office of Outreach and Communication (BOC) to withhold government advertisements in this particular newspaper for a certain period in accordance with Indian government policy, ”the person said.

In 2016, 2017 and 2020, a total of 105 cases were censored by the PCI, of which 73 cases led to suspensions by the BOC. The committee would expect the ministry / PCI to strengthen the PCI enforcement mechanism so that all of its orders are executed, ”the person said. He also suggested broadening the membership of the ICH to include people from more than one state to ensure fair representation.

The panel, said the person quoted above, was also informed by the PCI that several complaints were received against the electronic media by the media body, but no action was taken as this does not fall within the scope of their competence, “So the PCI thinks it is It is desirable that something ‘parallel (to PCI)’ be put in place for all media, ie printed newspapers and periodicals or in some other form, electronic newspapers, news portals, social media and any other information dissemination platform, in addition to electronic media. The PCI recommended that the government enact a single legislation to cover all the above-mentioned media, in accordance with the 1978 Press Council Act, ”the person said.

Referring to Rule 6 (1) (e) of the Cable Network Rules, 2014, which prohibits the broadcast of anything that, among other things, encourages “anti-national attitudes”, the panel suggested that the term be defined broadly. to remove any ambiguity in interpretation.

The parliamentary committee also expressed its dissatisfaction with the current TRP measurement system and drew the ministry’s attention to “recent reported episodes of TRP manipulation by some TV channels rigging the devices used by BARC” . “This has put a big question mark on the objectivity, accuracy, efficiency and transparency of the current system and makes it clear how the ratings can be manipulated through certain channels of collusion with BARC officials. While taking this seriously, the Committee wants the ministry to look at the entire TRP system process and identify a solution for a more transparent and accountable system of TRP measurement, ”the person said.

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