India drops plan to punish journalists for ?fake news? following outcry

NEW DELHI - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday ordered the withdrawal of rules punishing journalists held responsible for distributing ?fake news,? giving no reason for the change, less than 24 hours after the original announcement.

The move followed an outcry by journalists and opposition politicians that the rules represented an attack on the freedom of the press and an effort by Modi?s government to rein in free speech ahead of a general election due by next year.

Late on Monday, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry had said the government would cancel its accreditation of journalists who peddled ?fake news.?

After Modi?s intervention, the ministry announced the withdrawal in a one-line statement.