The ‘Fact Check’ is that Indians will have little choice
Points To Ponder:
- The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has established new authorities to assess “false, false, or misleading” internet postings about “any Central Government business.”
- This strategy is comparable to the concept of Newspeak in George Orwell’s novel 1984, in which citizens are prevented from committing “thoughtcrimes” by using a state-mandated language with tightly defined meanings.
- The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology claims to offer an “Open, Safe, Trusted, and Accountable Internet.” However, because the rules lack openness and protections, this claim may be Newspeak.
- A “fact check unit of the Central Government” will determine “fake, false, or misleading” information regarding the central government. This indicates that the government will be acting as a judge in its case, which is contrary to natural justice principles.
- The IT Rules contain no safeguards, which could result in a black box of government censorship. This may impede citizens from obtaining critical knowledge through factual debate, which is a natural result of a democratic society.
- The increased powers may result in the rapid removal of negative reporting, rendering it inaccessible not only on social media but also on the news portal’s website.
- The fact-checking body’s makeup is unknown, which is significant because regulatory organizations should be insulated or constituted with financial and functional autonomy to avoid being servile to the government.
- The decision by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology will make the Union Government the single judge of truth, thereby undermining the basic foundation upon which faith in government is created via examination.
- The IT Rules may also target institutions that aim to ensure accountability, leaving it unclear how the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology would fulfilll its mission of ensuring an “Open, Safe, Trusted, and Accountable Internet.”
- The notion of Newspeak, which prohibited the use of the word “free” except in specified instances, may apply to the move by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, which could limit citizens’ freedom of expression and speech.
For further information on this topic
Will Platforms Have To Take Down ‘Fake News’?
Combating Fake news