PIB Fact Check
Why in news? Any news deemed “fake” by the Press Information Bureau’s fact-checking unit will have to be taken down by all platforms, including social media platforms
- A proposed amendment was according to Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (IT Rules) by Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY)
- It also authorised any agency by the Central Government to do the same, which will look at any content related to any business of the Centre.
What is PIB fact-check?
- PIB launched its fact-checking division in 2019, which has verified accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Telegram and Instagram.
- It aims to counter misinformation on government policies and schemes.
Why the amendment is the cause of concern?
- Determination of fake news cannot be in the sole hands of the government and will result in the censorship of the press
- It would give PIB sweeping powers to “force online intermediaries” to remove content that the government may find problematic.
- The move would “stifle legitimate criticism of the government” and adversely impact the press which holds the government accountable.
- It rarely explains the reason for information that has been identified as false or misleading on some occasion that is problematic at many levels, with deep implications for free speech and information.
How PIB fact checker benefitted general public?
- The division has also worked to inform people about fraudulent websites and WhatsApp forwards.
- Corrections issued by a verified government source have aided in combating misleading information on a large scale, especially about monetary aid given by government under its schemes.
- Recently, PIB tweeted about one such fraudulent website which claimed to be that of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) that asked students appearing for their class 10 and 12 board exams to pay registration fees.