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In NEWS

  1. Election Commission (EC) is working on a robust mechanism for conduct on social media platforms and have interacted with Google and WhatsApp as the fake news is affecting voting behaviour worldwide.
  2. Outgoing Chief Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat says the panel has created a constituency for the EVMs, with elections in Tripura and other States setting at rest doubts.
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What is a fake news?

  1. Fake news is a type of yellow journalism or propaganda that consists of deliberate disinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional print and broadcast news media or online social media.
  2. Fake news is written and published with the intent to mislead in order to, often with sensationalist, exaggerated, or patently false headlines that grab attention.
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Negative Effects of fake news

Political polarisation:

  • Swaying or polarising public opinion.
  • Example character assassination of politicians during elections.

Religious:

  • Promoting religious ideologies and glorifying one religion while despising others.
  • Example “Gau rakshaks” leads to religious polarisation and communal unrests.

Criminal:

  • Sensationalising crimes by blowing them out of proportion.
  • Misleads people rather than making them aware.
  • Instils irrational fears.
  • Example: Dimapur Mob lynching of suspected criminals.

Inculcating aggression in public: Example Mob lynching.

  • Raises intolerance
  • It hampers spirit of common brotherhoo
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Need of the hour:

  1. Right now, the only mechanism to regulate this issue is Section 126 and EC instructions on paid news.
  2. Thus, a robust mechanism for conduct on social media platforms is urgently required.
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The main causes of spreading fake news: gain financially or politically

  1. Easy availability of Internet.
  2. Self-glorification.
  3. Propagation of one’s interest or agenda to gain financially or politically.
  4. To generate sensation.
  5. Increasing reach of Newspapers, T.V Channels, social media platforms etc.
  6. To enrol people in political, social or religious ideologies.
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Actions required

  1. Independent, trusted and effective press regulation.
  2. Mainstream media must use social media tools intensively in order to defend the truth, present the correct information and balance opinions.
  3. Curb media ownership: There should be clear limits on media ownership so that powerful proprietors with vested interests are not allowed to dominate the news agenda.
  4. We need an open debate on the impact of media concentration on our democracy and wider culture.
  5. Define fake news legally and Heavy punitive measures for whosoever violates the said definition.
  6. There should be grievance redressal mechanisms and arbitration spaces to resolve issues.
  7. Digital media literacy among people to increase scrutiny and feedbacks of the content.
  8. Technical solutions that assess the credibility of information circulating online are also needed.