25 Feb The new Media Accreditation Guidelines and it’s importance
The new Media Accreditation Guidelines and it’s importance – Today Current Affairs
The new Central Media Accreditation Guidelines, 2022 released on 7 February signposts an important stage in the relationship that the media in India has with the government. The very process of “ delegation” by the Press Information Bureau (PIB) means the operation of a set of criteria by the state to besmear a set of intelligencers as the bones who’ll be granted access to government services and events. Over the times, this has meant a wide range and number of intelligibles of several lines and tones. But what the rearmost set of rules does is honor a commission, staffed by government officers, with the right to take down or suspend delegation on the grounds that raise serious red flags on what kind of intelligencers will be allowed to serve and give access to tagged officers or top functionaries. It creates a hedge, sends a signal to employers, and makes the job of the intelligencers laborious. The de facto selection process is a signal as to who the government thinks is an intelligencer; the intent is clear.
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What’s also clear is the subjectivity in deciding the delegation. Section6.8 of the new rules comprises 10 grounds for taking down delegation — the most prominent and controversial being6.8 (h) — according to which, delegation could be taken down if the said intelligencer “ acts in a manner which is prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the state, friendly relations with foreign countries, public order, decency or morality of in relation to disdain of court, vilification or incitement to an offense.” This gives the government officers and other intelligencers in the commission — clearly not comprising a broad diapason of views — the power to produce a chief bowdlerize, who exercises judgment on the content produced by the intelligencers and is also empowered to act on its conclusions, without a court order or the need for any referral to a body that isn’t directly government-approved or controlled.
In April 2018, under the garb of controlling “ fake news,” the union government had blazed that it wanted to replicate the rules and regulations meant for the broadcast media to online media. The government constituted a commission to frame these rules, and it had no representative from the online media world; rather, it was staffed by registers of the Ministries of Home Affairs, Information and Broadcasting, Electronics and Information Technology, Department of Legal Affairs, and the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade. After a rampage and letters by elderly members of the press, the Prime Minister’s Office forced the order to be reversed. But the Information Technology ( Central Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, legislated latterly and presently being heard in at least two high courts, have the same theme — a desire to regulate independent media.
The current union government has formerly been circumscribing journalistic access of indeed those accredited and cleared at the loftiest position by the home ministry and from clerical services. Parliament too has been rendered unapproachable, first by using COVID-19 as a reason and, after lifting restrictions, by just not heeding the numerous representations journalistic bodies have made to restore the access to the houses of Parliament. The Press Council of India (PCI) is defunct. But these new clauses, set to knock out the delegation on the grounds of governmental pleasure, aren’t about confining or hassling many journalists but reveal what the government thinks of responsibility and, astronomically, republic. The Hindu Analysis.
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An intelligencer gets access to government services and public representatives precisely to induce responsibility, indeed anxiety, in those whom the public elects and accordingly gives abundant power to. To snap those lines means to hinder the functioning of the press as a watchdog of the republic. The government only wants a bendy media who’ll be patronized and, hence, controlled through delegation. By makingde-accreditation grounded on the interpretation and conduct of intelligencers means recognising only those intelligencers who are in the good books of the government of the day. The Hindu Analysis.
It isn’t as if the media has come out smelling of roses as the mesh has been tensed. Press associations have of course written to the minister, with the Press Club of India saying in its letter that the changes to the PIB guidelines have been continually made without any discussion with media bodies and violating the parameters laid down by the PCI. Possessors are yet to display any grit, and there are at least three good reasons for that. Indian private media — due to technological, profitable, and ideological reasons — finds itself caught in a perfect storm of subservience to the government. First, it’s far more dependent on government announcements, in light of technological changes destroying the profitable model of print and TV media, as decreasingly larger shares of private advertising have gone to digital platforms. The Covid-19 epidemic has further damned media earnings. Second, India’s worsening frugality has also meant important smaller sources of profit for other gigs and “ events” that media outlets would do to stay round, as all kinds of spending have shrunk. The current union government isn’t shy of plying control more directly on possessors and editors than in the antedating decades, as is clear from those hand- picked for interviews. The editors and possessors have read the jotting on the wall and are substantially happy to acclimate to the new realities. Third, with India’s now alternate richest business house controlling a large section of media and other big possessors being comfortable with the Sangh Parivar’s testament also means that journalism of courage doesn’t actually live.
Piecemeal from veritably many honorable immunity, the quiet compliance by the media to governmental sweats at control has only inspired the governance. Asserting control on intelligencers is about test- driving the idea of dwindling republic itself.