Union Min Rajeev Chandrashekhar clears air on notification about fake news
7 April, 2023 | Amish Mahajan
After a controversy arose over the Centre’s notification on Thursday that fake news about the Union government would be forcibly taken down and the agency that would declare content as fake n...
After a controversy arose over the Centre’s notification on Thursday that fake news about the Union government would be forcibly taken down and the agency that would declare content as fake news would be the Press Information Bureau, Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Friday clarified that the rules notified yesterday do not mention “PIB Fact Check”.
Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s response came against the backdrop of various reports, claiming that as per the amended Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 social media platforms and other intermediaries will now have to make sure that “fake news” articles about the Centre, declared as such by PIB, are taken down from their platforms once alerted. The minister said that the rules do not suggest that the agency declaring fake news will be PIB Fact Check.
“The rules do not suggest that it will be PIB Fact Check. 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 notified yesterday do not mention PIB Fact Check,” Chandrashekhar told the media agency.
He said, “So we have yet to decide 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 issued notifications regarding amendments to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, related to online gaming and spreading false and misleading information regarding government business.
As per the amended rules, it has been made obligatory on the part of intermediaries to make a reasonable effort not to host, publish or share any online game that can cause the user harm or that has not been verified as a permissible online game by an online gaming self-regulatory body/bodies designated by the Central Government.
The intermediary will also have to ensure that no advertisement, surrogate advertisement, or promotion of an online game that is not permissible online is hosted on its platform.
Apart from it, the amended rules now also make it obligatory for the intermediaries not to publish, share or host fake, false or misleading information regarding any business of the Central Government.
“This fake, false or misleading information will be 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 not to host, publish or share any patently false and untrue or misleading information,” the IT ministry said in a press note.
“The rules already cast an obligation on intermediaries to make reasonable efforts not to host, publish or share any information which is patently false and untrue or misleading in nature,” it added.