: Fake News: Need to curb but not how the government wants it #WorldNEWSAll There is certainly a need to check the circulation of fake news but a proper mechanism must be evolved which should involve
Fake News: Need to curb but not how the government wants it #WorldNEWSAll
There is certainly a need to check the circulation of fake news but a proper mechanism must be evolved which should involve independent and credible professionals.
There is no doubt that fake or false news can play havoc particularly during the periods of tension and unrest. Unfortunately the trend of false news is increasing particularly since the advent of social media and the vested interests like to fish in troubled waters.
A recent example of such fake news, which was later discovered to have been backed by a political party, was the circulation of a video showing labourers from Bihar being beaten up by the local in Tamil Nadu.
It is well known that Tamil Nadu depends on unskilled labour from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and that the arrangement was beneficial for all concerned.
The release of the video had an adverse impact and led to a large number of labourers leaving Tamil Nadu in panic.
It was subsequently found that the video was shot in a studio with the help of hired actors.
There are several instances of false news circulating in india and elsewhere in the world.
Also Read: BBC – Who is afraid?
Of late some independent organisations have taken up the task of exposing such fake news but there is always a lurking danger of vested interests or anti social elements spreading false news to cause trouble.
There is definitely a need to keep a close check on such spread of fake news.
However what the ministry of Electronics and IT has notified to deal with the menace is not only suspicious but a grave threat to the freedom of expression and free speech.
It has given the authority to the government to determine ‘fake, false or misleading news’ by a “fact checking unit” who shall take a decision and direct the service providers and intermediaries to take down any particular news.
Such a provision would entail that the government or its agencies have arrogated to themselves the role of the jury, judge and executioner of online content.
This is a highly dangerous move as it gives the government unchecked and unbridled powers to decide what can be published and what can’t be published with no provision for a review or an appeal. Since almost almost all mainline media organisations are now also on digital media, the new rules would impact the entire media and not just the social media.
The latest move has come in the wake of several steps taken by the establishment which can have serious impact on the freedom of speech and dissemination of news.
Also Read: Raids on BBC – Will this unabashed bullying and intimidation make India the Vishwa Guru?
The orders to take down a documentary on the Gujarat riots by the BBC is a point in that direction.