While fake news was bothering the government for quite some time, leaders failed to come up with a concrete plant to counter it. However, a piece of recent news, which falsely claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi over the Ayodhya verdict, has finally moved the government to set up a body to battle online fake news.
According to an ET report, the government was quick to claim that this report was “malicious” and “fake’. Moreover, the incident triggered it to finally create a formal fact-checking module under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
How Govt Plans To Tackle Fake News?
For battling fake news in the country, the government has laid out four principles — find, assess, create and target (FACT). Initially, the government’s FACT check module is going to be manned by Indian information service officers. The officers are expected to trace online news sources and publicly available social media posts round-the-clock for any potential fake news.
Additionally, the government officers will also look out for information brought out by online influencers. Since these influencers are not bound by standards of ethics applicable to traditional media outlets, the government feels that they increase the traction of misleading information.
The team battling fake news is also expected to look out for themes or stories promoting false and misleading information especially related to the government or its supported agencies.
Further, if the fact check team comes across any hint of fake news on online media platforms or other places, it can then vest its decision to respond to such content.
The media report further added that the information will then be flagged to relevant ministries or departments, which are involved, with a recommended approach to the response. Moreover, besides reviewing content and raising alarm over any false news or misinformation, the FACT team will also bring out appropriate content to counter the narrative.
As of now, the FACT check mechanism will focus more on online and digital content, however, the government will also start to watchdog news on electronic media in the near future.