Prelims Level
Mains Level
Prelims Syllabus : Miscellaneous Mains Syllabus : GS-III- Role of Media and Social Networking Sites in Internal Security Challenges.

Why in News?

  • BBC and other leading global news and technology organisations has collaborated to tackle disinformation. The collaboration was announced by the BBC and the partners recently.
  • Under this collaboration, news and technology majors will work together to protect their audiences and users from disinformation, particularly around crucial events such as elections.

Trusted News Summit:

  • Earlier this year, the BBC convened a ‘Trusted News Summit’, bringing together senior figures from major global technology firms and publishing.
  • It was precipitated by events such as the Indian elections, which highlighted the dangers of disinformation and underlined the importance of working together.
  • The summit agreed to work collectively on various initiatives, including creating systems where organisations can warn each other quickly when they discover disinformation that threatens human life or disrupts elections.
  • The emphasis of the ‘early warning system’ will be on moving quickly and collectively to undermine disinformation before it can take hold.
  • The summit also agreed to work towards a joint online media education campaign, and also to co-operate on election-related information such as explaining how and where to vote.

Significance:

  • Disinformation and so-called fake news are a threat to us all. At its worst, it can present a serious threat to democracy and even to people’s lives.
  • This summit has shown a determination to take collective action to fight this problem and we have agreed some crucial steps towards this.

Legal Framework to Tackle Fake News in India:

  • There is no specific law in India to deal with fake news but there are statutory and self-regulatory bodies to act against dissemination of misinformation. Moreover, free publication of news flows from Article 19 of the Constitution guaranteeing freedom of speech.
  • Press Council of India: It is a regulatory body which can warn, admonish or censure the newspaper, the news agency, the editor or the journalist or disapprove the conduct of the editor or the journalist if it finds that a newspaper or a news agency has violated journalistic ethics.
  • News Broadcasters Association (NBA): represents the private television news and current affairs broadcasters. The self-regulatory body probes complaints against electronic media.
  • Indian Broadcast Foundation (IBF): Looks into the complaints against contents aired by channels.
  • Broadcasting Content Complaint Council (BCCC): Admits complaints against TV broadcasters for objectionable TV content and fake news.
  • Indian Penal Code (IPC): It has certain sections which could curb fake news: Section 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot) and Section 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class) can be invoked to guard against fake news.
  • Section 66 in The Information Technology Act, 2000: If any person, dishonestly or fraudulently, does any act referred to in section 43 (damage to computer, computer system), he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine which may extend to five lakh rupees or with both.
  • Civil or Criminal Case for Defamation is another resort against fake news for individuals and groups hurt by the fake news.
  • IPC Section 499 (defamation) and Section 500 (whoever defames another shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both) provide for a defamation suit.
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