Had it come a day earlier, it could have been dismissed as an International Fools Day joke. But the ever-ebullient Smriti Irani, who now presides over the ministry of information and broadcasting, was deadly serious about the April 2 guidelines to check the spread of fake news—and she made it clear in a series of tweets.
The guidelines were brought in as amendments to the rules governing accreditation of journalists. Actually, they created a law that laid down the procedure to investigate complaints relating to fake news and prescribed the punishment to be awarded to the offenders. The law was beset with several problems. One of them was it assumed, without any justification, that the offenders will be accredited journalists. It is well known that fake news originates and circulates mainly on social media platforms, whose personnel are not entitled to accreditation.