PIB fact check unit busted 1,160 fake news cases since 2019: Govt to Lok Sabha
The Fact Check Unit takes cognisance of fake news relating to the central government both suo-motu and by way of queries sent by citizens on its portal or through e-mail and social media
The fact check unit of the Press Information Bureau (PIB) busted 1,160 cases of false information since its inception in November 2019, union minister for information & broadcasting Anurag Singh Thakur in reply to the Lok Sabha said on Tuesday.
“The Fact Check Unit takes cognisance of fake news relating to the central government both suo-motu and by way of queries sent by citizens on its portal or through e-mail and social media. Since its inception, the PIB has received over 37,000 complaints. It has busted 1,160 cases of fake news”, said Thakur.
In 2019, 17 fake news were busted by the fact check unit, rising to 394 cases busted in 2020. In 2021, 285 instances of fake news were debunked, growing to 338 instances in 2022. In the present year, 126 fake news instances were debunked, said Thakur replying to a question by Congress MPs K Muraleedharan and Benny Behanan.
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According to the National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB) ‘Crime in India 2021’ report, a 42% drop in the number of cases was recorded under section 505 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) related to cases of circulation of ‘fake/false news/rumours.’
The number of cases related to ‘fake/false news’ was 486 in 2019, 1,527 in 2020, and 882 in 2021, NCRB data revealed.
In January, a proposed amendment to Information Technology Rules 2021 suggested that any content “identified as fake or false” by the PIB’s fact-check unit must be taken down.
The amendment mentioned that any information marked as “fake or misleading” by PIB’s fact-check unit or any agency “authorised by the central government for fact-checking” will be required to be taken down.
Underlining the efforts taken by the government under the Information Technology Rules, 2021 to curb fake news, Thakur said, “A three-level Grievance Redressal Mechanism consisting of the publisher (Level-I), a self-regulating body constituted by the publishers (Level-II) and an Oversight Mechanism of the Government (Level-III), with time-bound grievance disposal mechanism has been instituted.”
Thakur also responded to another question regarding the amendments in rules to impose restrictions on fake news on digital and OTT platforms posed by Samajwadi Party MP Uday Pratap Singh in Lok Sabha.
“All TV channels are required to adhere to the Programme Code under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, including that programmes should not contain anything obscene, defamatory, deliberate, false and suggestive innuendos and half-truths,” said Thakur in his reply.
“OTT players are not to transmit any content which is prohibited by law and to undertake age-based self-classification of content, based on general guidelines provided in the Schedule, along with adequate safeguards for restricting age-inappropriate content for children with adequate access control measures,” underlined the union minister.