Recently Indian administration banned 16 YouTube channels for spreading false news. According to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, 16 YouTube channels and 1 Facebook account is on banned list. 6 YouTube channels are claimed to belong Pakistan. This is not the first time, central administration took this decision. Earlier, 22 YouTube channels and 3 twitter accounts were banned for the similar reason that collected viewership in millions. The present banned channels are said to have cumulative viewership of more than 680 million. In a brief statement, it is explained that due to spreading of fake news and passing wrong comments on international affairs was misleading people.
‘Hindi Mein Dekho’, ‘Tahaffuz-E-Deen India’, ‘Sarkari Babu’, ‘PKB News’ and ‘Borana news’ are some of the channel names that came under IT radar. After reporting specific channels for their wrong intentions, IT dig deeper to gather information. In this era of technology, where every single person believes news travelling through media platforms is coming from ground source, tackling the creators of fake news is an important matter. Today, with rise of technology, credibility of news has become vulnerable and that can end up to some serious consequences. Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has started observing online content strictly from last few years to avoid any chance that can harm country’s security or harmony.
Mr. Joshi has started working on the subject of fake news and conducts special workshops related to the topic. He has also visited few schools and colleges for a guest lecture about the same. While talking to Eat News he explained that fake news is a real problem we are dealing with. ‘Fake news is a virus that is expanding speedily. It cannot be tackled at first go especially when it comes to citizens. We all believe what we read and watch. But for specialists it is easy to catch fake news and according to them, the problem needs to be discussed’, he said. Further, he shared with us statistics that in a survey conducted in 2019, 88 percent of the Indian voters admitted that fake news is a real problem. It is worrisome to look that how unverified information is travelling through different platforms of public spheres.
Even though fact checking initiatives have been adapted by several platforms, but not every user is aware of it. Mr. Joshi said, ‘Yes numerous platforms have included fact checking and also timely educate its users about fake news but it hasn’t been done on large level. There are still specific percent of people who are not aware of it. Platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp should start a campaign about fake news like how to tackle it and what to do after tackling it.’ He added saying, ‘Age group of 40-60 are quite active on social media platforms and doesn’t really pay attention to such problems. I usually try to include middle age people in my workshops for their knowledge and so that they can pass it on to other groups.’
Misleading information can cause havoc. How important it is for a country like India to stop fake news? According to Mr. Joshi, ‘Either there is a fake news about religion differences or a controversy in an entertainment industry. Maximum we hear this. Communal harmony is a very sensitive issue in India and fake news adds fuel to it. It disturbs peace and brotherhood among the people.’ He wants people to find out the difference between fake news and real news without getting too late. He told EAT news about how his workshops are trying to fill this gap. ‘Me and my team talks about the consequences fake news can generate and how it is available today on almost every platform one use. We talk about how to identify fake news. Photoshop is a key trick that gets used in such news. Manipulating images, texts and using a problematic headline to grab eye balls is what it is all about. Check facts and information from Google or other credible news outlets is always advised before sharing particular news or forwarding it to a large group. Report it, is a very first option available on social media platforms and later concerned team works on it’.
People have a tendency to find sources of entertainment on social media platforms. If a particular content is entertaining an individual, then whether it is fake or real, doesn’t matter, as per Mr. Joshi. ‘And this is why such YouTube channels gain loads of viewership. They bring the sentimental angle, emotional, comedy content that overshadow the curiosity of an individual to know, if the content is actually real or fake’, he said.
We are trapped in a fake news web. At this point, it is required to check every information available on internet or on different mediums from other credible news outlets or sources too.
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