“No mention of PIB Fact Check…” Union Min Rajeev Chandrashekhar clears air on fake news
8 April, 2023 | Pragati Singh
Following a backlash over the Centre’s announcement on Thursday that fake news about the Union government would be forcibly removed and that the agency that would declare content to be fake n...
Following a backlash over the Centre’s announcement on Thursday that fake news about the Union government would be forcibly removed and that the agency that would declare content to be fake news would be the Press Information Bureau, Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar clarified on Friday that the rules announced yesterday do not mention “PIB Fact Check”
Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, responded in response to various reports claiming that under the amended Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 social media platforms and other intermediaries will now be required to ensure that “fake news” articles about the Centre, declared as such by PIB, are removed from their platforms once alerted.
According to the minister, the laws do not indicate that the agency designating fake news will be PIB Fact Check.
“The rules do not at all suggest that it’s going to be PIB Fact Check. I think some of the grey area, or indeed the misapprehension, comes from the fact that the original draft of the rule that went for consultation talked about PIB Fact check. The rules that were notified yesterday do not mention PIB Fact Check,” Chandrashekhar told ANI.
He said, “So we have yet to take a decision on whether it will be a new organization that has trust and credibility associated with it, or do we take an old organization and repurpose it to build trust and credibility in terms of a fact-checking mission.”
Earlier on Thursday, the Centre released notifications about changes to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, concerning online gambling and the spread of false and misleading information about government business.
According to the modified guidelines, intermediaries must make a reasonable effort not to host, publish, or share any online game that can cause harm to the user or that has not been confirmed as a lawful online game by an online gaming self-regulatory body/bodies authorised by the Central Government.
The intermediary must also ensure that no commercial or surrogate advertisement or promotion of a prohibited online game is hosted on its platform.
Aside from that, the updated guidelines now require intermediaries to refrain from publishing, sharing, or hosting fabricated, inaccurate, or misleading material about any Central Government business.
“These fake, false or misleading information will identified by the notified Fact Check Unit of the Central Government. it is to be noted that the existing IT rules already required the intermediaries to make reasonable efforts to not host, publish or share any information which is patently false and untrue or misleading in nature,” the IT ministry said in a press note.
“The rules already cast an obligation on intermediaries to make reasonable efforts to not host, publish or share any information which is patently false and untrue or misleading in nature,” it added.