Clipped from: https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/what-is-fake-news/article66441130.ece
In the proposed amendments to the information technology rules, the government can expand the list of agencies that can undertake fact-checking
The proposed amendment seems worrisome as there could be situations where any news which is not acceptable to the establishment can be put in the category of false or fake news | Photo Credit: Rawf8
How do you define “fake” news?. The text book definition of fake news is false or misleading information presented as news and often aimed at damaging the reputation of an individual or entity or to make money through advertising revenue. Recently, the Ministry for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) uploaded draft amendments to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021, for consultation.
On January 19, an official release said, the government will hold public consultation with respect to fact checking misinformation or patently false and untrue or misleading information on social media and other intermediary platforms.
Under the proposed amendment, the due diligence by intermediaries shall include making such efforts to not upload, publish, transmit or share information identified as fake or false by the Fact Check Unit of the Press Information Bureau ( https://factcheck.pib.gov.in/ and Twitter handle @PIBFactcheck), which takes cognisance of fake information both suo motu and by way of queries sent by citizens on its portal or through e-mail and WhatsApp and responds with correct information when the same pertains to the government.
In addition, it will also cover that information which relates to government business and which is identified by the Department concerned as false. The rules also in addition mention other agencies may be included in the list of authorised agencies for such fact-checking by the government in future. And this has created a flutter.
The concept of fact check by PIB has been in existence since November 2019 and it can check only those news that talk about Union Government issues, it has no access to State government issues or any private news. Despite this limited power, the proposed amendment seems worrisome as there could be situations where any news which is not acceptable to the establishment can be put in this category of false or fake news.