Karnataka govt comes out with framework for proposed fact-check body

08:19 AM Sep 15, 2023 | PTI |

Bengaluru: To curb fake news and misinformation on social media and other platforms, the Karnataka Government on Thursday came out with a framework for its proposed fact-check body.


Sharing details about the structure of the proposed body at a press conference here, Karnataka IT & BT Minister Priyank Kharge said it would be a “misinformation combat cell”, which will have an oversight committee, a single point of contact to review, and nodal officers.

He said the team would be responsible for conducting fact checks and managing communications and outreach. It will also have an analytics team which would be responsible for monitoring the information ecosystem, providing early intelligence, and tracing of key information disorder nodes.

It will also have a capacity building team that will focus on awareness campaigns for the public and build applications for strengthening the ecosystem.

The announcement comes days after the Karnataka Police registered an FIR against a Hindi news channel and it’s Consulting Editor on allegations of spreading misinformation about a commercial vehicle subsidy scheme of the state government for minorities.


“Right from Chief Election Commission to the CGI to Prime Minister agree that fake news is a threat to democracy and there are various reports that are suggesting fake news misinformation, disinformation and mal-information is creating chaos in our society. Well within the framework of the constitution, we are coming up with a working model to curb the misinformation and fake news,” he told reporters here.

As per the structure proposed, the oversight committee would include key members from various backgrounds – Head of Department of Information Technology, Biotechnology and Science &Technology; Additional Director General of Police (Intelligence/CID); a representative from Department of Information and Public Relations; MD of Karnataka Innovation and Technology Society; Dean of Electrical, Electronics, and Computer Sciences at Indian Institute of Science (IISc); Additional Advocate General; Central Head of CySecK (Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security); and representatives from civil society.

Stressing that the model would be transparent, apolitical and unbiased, the minister said that hunting of misinformation, disinformation and mal-information will be conducted in Kannada, English and other regional languages.

“It will rely on primary sources wherever available and disclose all sources referred. Where facts are not clear, (it will) provide all available, unambiguous information, and provide details of methodology adopted, and (issue) transparent corrections when new facts come to light,” he said.

Kharge said If there is any malafide intent to disturb communal harmony in the society or cheating in the posting of fake news on platforms, it will be forwarded to the home department so that a complaint is filed and necessary action is taken.

Explaining the process, he said that once the content in submitted to the public, fact-checking agencies will initiate investigation, conduct initial analyses and accordingly, submit their conclusions to the state government. And if the content needs to be blocked, it will be referred to the Central government to do the needful.

“Every social media platform has its own public policy and if content needs to be pulled down, the social media platform concerned will be informed as it is in violation of the law of land,” he added.


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