Under the new policy, journalists working with online platforms will be eligible for accreditation.
Laying down stringent conditions to let a journalist function, the new accreditation policy, announced by the Press Information Bureau and prepared by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, has a provision stating that a journalist can lose government accreditation.
If he or 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”.
Such a criteria was not mentioned in the last policy issued in 2013. The previous policy, under general terms of accreditation, stated that it “shall be withdrawn as soon as the conditions on which it was given cease to exist. Accreditation is also liable to be withdrawn/suspended if it is found to have been misused”.
The new policy had been in the works for a while, and had led to delay in renewal of the existing accreditation cards. Under the new policy, journalists working with online platforms will be eligible for accreditation.
It has a new section on conditions under which a journalist’s accreditation can be suspended. It has ten points, one of which also mentions that accreditation can be suspended if a journalist is charged with a “serious cognizable offence”.
The other conditions for suspension of accreditation includes using it for “non-journalistic activities”, has furnished false information, if the organisation the journalist was part of ceases to exist, or the journalists has left the organisation, among others.