PIB's new accreditation policy says journalists can lose status over 10 conditions

The new rules, laid down by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, stand in stark contrast to the last 2013 policy

Representative image
Representative image

NH Web Desk

According to the new accreditation policy of the Press Information Bureau, a journalist stands to lose his/her accreditation if he/she “acts in manner which is prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement of an offence”

The new rules, laid down by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, stand in stark contrast to the last 2013 policy which stated that the accreditation “shall be withdrawn as soon as the conditions on which it was given cease to exist. Accreditation is also liable to be withdrawn/suspended if it is found to have been misused,” reported the Indian Express.

Though the new policy allows journalists working with online platforms to be eligible for accreditation with the PIB (news aggregators are still not eligible by the way), it lays down ten grounds on which the same can be suspended. These grounds include serious cognisable offence, non-journalistic activities, furnishing false information, if their organisation shuts down, or even if the journalist leaves the organisation.

Being accredited with the PIB allows journalists to “access government offices in Delhi”, and is needed to attend events where the President, PM are in attendance, reported the Indian Express. This new policy, however, states that one can’t mention on social media or letterheads that they are accredited to the GoI.

While there are currently 2457 journalists in India who are accredited, the process of renewal of accreditation has seen a delay ever since the new policy was being worked upon.

Who can get accredited?

If you’re a freelancer with over 15 years of experience, a veteran journalist with over 30 years of experience, and journalists with a “publicly acclaimed distinguished career” are eligible for accreditation. For TV channels, newspapers, magazines, news agencies, etc, the size of the platform determines who can get accredited.

If you’re a website with 10-50 lakh unique visitors per month, one journalist from your organisation can get accredited. If your website has over 1 crore unique visitors per month, four journalists from your organisation can get accredited. The conditions for online platforms also state that your platform should be at least a year old and your website “average monthly unique visitor count of last six months should be duly certified by the website’s CAG-approved/ empanelled auditors,” said a report in the Indian Express.

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