The forecast after a fake news campaign in Tamil Nadu
A malicious online disinformation campaign led to law-and-order issues in Tamil Nadu and made media headlines across the country.
- Lack of fact Checking: After the Tamil Nadu disinformation story, some media outlets such as Dainik Bhaskar, a large media group, projected these stories as news, without attempting to verify the authenticity of these clips.
- Knee-jerk measures: No proper efforts are taken to prevent the spread of fake News. The government only employs knee-jerk measures such as Internet shutdowns across jurisdictions without due regard to the doctrine of proportionality.
- Lack of regulation: Self-regulation by mainstream media has largely been ineffective. Any direct effort by the government to control fake news is prone to be seen as an assault on the freedom of media which functions as the fourth pillar of democracy.
Steps taken by Government
- IT Rules, 2021: The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 or IT Rules, 2021, aims to regulate content by online publishers of news and social media intermediaries.
- Amendments to the IT Rules: The recent draft amendments to the IT Rules, 2021, empower the Press Information Bureau to ‘flag inaccurate and fake news related to government bodies on social media platforms’ amounts to disinformation.
- Section 69A of IT act: The Union Government can block access to any information online that it considers necessary in the interest of the sovereignty and the integrity of India, the security of the state or public order.