Fake News Phenomenon in India

If not checked, Indian media is on the verge of becoming a massive fake news industry and has the capability of becoming a serious challenge to Indian Security.

As the debate over mob lynching in India is seething such incidents, it would not have had such an accelerated and colossal aftermath if the teens or adolescence had not access to Pages, Handles and Channels of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media that granted the fake news industry to re-assemble and share originally made but fake videos and information. The reason of all the mob lynching over the past couple of years is the direct result of the circulation of fake news content disgorging over from social media to the real world.

Many Indian business tycoons, sportsperson’s, celebrities, economists, politicians and even middle age commoner have already become a victim to this.

This trend is life threatening and should be probed and surveyed by our intelligence agencies for any slightest possible damage to stop future disaster.

In India, fake news based on forged and devoid facts had a paramount effectiveness in inflaming communal and cultural disputes.

The term ‘Fake News’ gained notoriety during the 2016 US presidential election campaign.

Fake News was used very effectively during US Presidential elections. It was part of the official campaign itself run in collaboration with tech companies and it is also being alleged that even the Russians also ran their own network.

The same method was used to shape the Brexit debate as well and now fake news industry has already spread its tentacles in India as well.

But this phenomenon is much older: it is asold as mass communication. Purposely written, false stories— for instance, Secret History Book by Procopius—existed in the Roman Empire and were abundant in eighteenth century France and England.

Partly or fully false stories also playedan important part in the success of Yellow Journalism which was made by Joseph Pulitzer and his fierce competitor William Randolphat the end of the nineteenthcentury.

In the 1930s the League of Nations also circulated fake news into mass media very effectively.

While versions of fake news have thus long been present in society, the fake news that exists in the realm of onlinesocial media is not least because of the speed at which it can be propagated and the reach it can attain.

Indian government has pro-actively embraced the advantages of advancement in information technology to serve itspeople better. However, its efforts to minimize misuse of technology and cybercrime remain ineffective. The ITAct, 2000 even after several amendments in 2008 has been unable to tackle the menace of fake news through socialmedia. This law does not criminalize creation and spread of fake news on cyber space.

Social media sites such asFacebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and Instagram have been widely misused to spread fake news, lies and propagandain India. Despite this, all these platforms have no accountability under the IT Act, 2000 to filter unlawful messagesposted by their users.

Using this grey area available in cyber space, hate mongering people/groups with vested political interest have been instigating communal hatred and violence.

The Union government has itself acknowledged several times in the past that the hate mongering propaganda on social media plays a key role in instigating communal hatred, violence apart from spreading false stories about political opponents. While this is nota completely new phenomena, various observations of experts reveal that the presence of fake news has increased tremendously in last 3-4 years.

What is more worrying is that those involved in the industry of fake news enjoy political patronage. Moreover, there is a high demand of fake news from these political bosses to justify their opportunistic and dishonest politics. Fake news producing portals and individuals have been supplying lies and misinformation not only to political propagandists but also ministers and their subordinates to present a false picture of their achievement as leader and as government.

While social media platforms are today an integral part of our lives, we also need to regulate these platforms to stop spread of fake news, lies and false propaganda.

Mentioned below is Last year’s top Fake News circulated by Indian media –

  1. Republic TV: Jama Masjid in dark due to non-payment of electricity bills over four crores
  2. Aaj Tak: Fatwa in Saudi Arabia that men can eat their wives if hungry
  3. Times Now: Conversion rate card unearthed in Kerala
  4. Zee News, ABP: Dawood Ibrahim’s assets worth 15,000 crores seized in UAE
  5. Republic TV, CNN News 18: Arundhati Roy’s statement
  6. Republic, Zee News, Times of India, Economic Times, Financial Express: President Kovind gains 3 million new followers in anhour
  7. AajTak, India Today, Zee News, ABP News and India TV: Pakistani posts of Kirpan &Pimpal destroyed by Indian Army in animmediate retaliation to beheading of soldiers
  8. Republic TV, Times Now: Exclusive! What is Robert Vadra doing with the Chinese envoy
  9. Zee News: Nostradamus had predicted the rise of supreme leader Narendus
  10. The Hindu: Dying woman molested, video shows
  11. India Today: Paresh Mesta case
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