- 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.
- 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.
What is a fake news?
- 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.
- 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.
Negative Effects of fake news
- Swaying or polarising public opinion.
- Example character assassination of politicians during elections.
- Promoting religious ideologies and glorifying one religion while despising others.
- Example “Gau rakshaks” leads to religious polarisation and communal unrests.
- 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
Need of the hour:
- Right now, the only mechanism to regulate this issue is Section 126 and EC instructions on paid news.
- Thus, a robust mechanism for conduct on social media platforms is urgently required.
The main causes of spreading fake news: gain financially or politically
- Easy availability of Internet.
- Propagation of one’s interest or agenda to gain financially or politically.
- To generate sensation.
- Increasing reach of Newspapers, T.V Channels, social media platforms etc.
- To enrol people in political, social or religious ideologies.
- Independent, trusted and effective press regulation.
- Mainstream media must use social media tools intensively in order to defend the truth, present the correct information and balance opinions.
- 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.
- We need an open debate on the impact of media concentration on our democracy and wider culture.
- Define fake news legally and Heavy punitive measures for whosoever violates the said definition.
- There should be grievance redressal mechanisms and arbitration spaces to resolve issues.
- Digital media literacy among people to increase scrutiny and feedbacks of the content.
- Technical solutions that assess the credibility of information circulating online are also needed.