Information Disorder Tackling Unit
Polity & Governance
14th Oct, 2023
The Karnataka government has begun working on a unit that will scrutinise complaints and monitor the internet for misinformation and hate speech.
- It comes against the backdrop of the Union government’s attempts to create its own fact-check unit.
What is Fake News?
- Fake news refers to intentionally fabricated or misleading information presented as if it were real news.
- It can be spread through traditional media sources like newspapers or television, but it is more commonly associated with social media platforms and other online sources.
About the Plan:
- The plan to create such a unit — named the Information Disorder Tackling Unit — was first announced in June 2023.
- Before the fact check is made public, the review a single point of contact (SPOC), appointed by the state government, must first approve initiating a fact check.
- SPOC will also determine if the content violates a social media platform’s policies, is illegal, or needs to be blocked.
- They will subsequently either inform the social media company, or lodge a complaint (with the police), or refer the matter to the central government to recommend blocking under Section 69A of the Information technology Act, respectively.
- The fact check team will consist of independent fact check agencies whose fact checks must be “unbiased and evidence based”.
- Its remit will be restricted to the jurisdiction of Karnataka.
- Fact-checking in India can come from public submissions or proactive searches. State-appointed SPOCs must approve the fact-check process.
- If needed, fact-checkers can request information from state departments. After analysis, an internal review takes place.
- The final step involves review by the state-appointed SPOC, which may affect editorial independence due to multiple approvals.
Laws related to fake News:
- The IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Amendment Rules, 2023 aim to tackle the dissemination of false or misleading information through the introduction of fact-checking units.
- In light of the detrimental impact of fake news, particularly during the COVID-19 crisis, governments worldwide have recognized the urgency to combat this menace.
- India, in particular, has experienced a surge in fake news related to the pandemic, making it crucial for the government to proactively address the issue.