Whew--Smriti Irani exits

IN Media Watch Briefs | 14/05/2018

 Smriti Irani's ten months in the I and B Ministry were tempestuous to put it mildly. She transferred at least 120 officers of the Information Service cadre, some of them against posts which did not exist. She restructured the publicity units of the ministry, and then took to making pronouncements about the need to regulate online media, even setting up a committee to make recommendations. Her effort to tackle fake news by saying accredited correspondents would lose their accreditation if they were found guilty of putting out fake news was quickly scotched by the Prime Minister's Office.    

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The new term for self censorship is voluntary censorship, as proposed by companies like Netflix and Hotstar. ET reports that streaming video service Amazon Prime is opposing a move by its peers to adopt a voluntary censorship code in anticipation of the Indian government coming up with its own rules. Amazon is resisting because it fears that it may alienate paying subscribers.                   

Clearly, the run to the 2019 elections is on. A journalist received a call from someone saying they were from Aajtak channel and were conducting a survey, asking whom she was going to vote for in 2019. On being told that her vote was secret, the caller assumed she wasn't going to vote for 'Modiji'. The caller, a woman, also didn't identify herself. A month or two earlier the same journalist received a call, this time from a man, asking if she was going to vote for the BSP.                 

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