Election officials in Bihar told to fact check, call out fake news
A template has also been attached with the letter sent by the election department to DMs for fact checking.Updated: Sep 18, 2020, 21:37 IST
Tackling the menace of fake news has emerged one of the top concerns of the state election department in Bihar, which has introduced a fact check concept where district magistrates and district election officers have been directed to post correct updates on the official websites immediately after detection of any fake news or rumours on various media platforms, especially social media.
A template has also been attached with the letter sent by the election department to DMs for fact checking.
“The idea of ‘fact check’ is to provide correct information about any development in case there is false news circulating in the social media. This is the first time such a system will be implemented during assembly polls in Bihar,” said an election officer.
State’s additional chief electoral officer Ranjita said, “Checking fake news is one of the priority areas. Immediate action would be taken against those indulging in such activities.”
The state election department has also started the process of shadow zone area mapping of booths to assess whether booths, especially located in rural and remote areas, have good mobile connectivity or not.
Sources said telecom service providers would be asked to make necessary arrangements in areas of poor connectivity or provision would be made for satellite phones. Officials said the increased focus on checking the mobile connectivity near booths this time is because of the stress on digital mode of communication with polling personnel in view of the Covid-related safeguards.
The vulnerability mapping of booths to identity polling stations where there is possibility of rigging or any other law and order problem has also begun.
The two-member Election Commission team that visited Bihar a few days back has laid stress on encouraging voters turnout through SWEEP (Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Programme) and on ensuring minimum facilities at all the new auxillary booths set up to maintain Covid-19 related safeguards at the polling stations.
“We have asked district officials to intensify campaign through SWEEP. We are also striving to ensure minimum facilities at booths for voters’ convenience,” said the additional CEO, Bihar.
The EC team also laid stress on ensuring proper availability of vehicles and usage of various I-T applications, including e-nomination facility, for filing nomination papers by candidates with the option of making payments of necessary fees online, the first such initiative in this polls.
In another first, the state election department has already issued directives to the DMs to ensure that voters come to booths wearing masks as a precaution against Covid infection and those flouting rules would be fined Rs 50.