Fake news is a deadly virus and the way forward to tackle it is self-regulation by digital platforms, Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Government of India, said.
Addressing delegates at the 16th Marketing Conclave organised by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), Javadekar, who was the Chief Guest, termed fake news as more dangerous than paid news.
The minister said the government had taken serious note of the menace of fake news and as a first step to counter disinformation, they “started PIB fact-check units in all states and two to three fake news are identified every day”.
Stressing the need to counter fake news, he said, “How to spot fake news is a new lesson we need to educate the masses on.”
Seeking greater accountability from social media platforms, he said misinformation weakens the functioning of a democracy and there should be a calibrated approach to thwart the spread of lies and disinformation. With all villages in India set to be connected, thanks to Bharatnet, there is a greater need to educate the masses about fake news.
Speaking the importance of digital medium, the minister said digital advertising is the future. “We must understand that with the speed it is growing and with number of smart phones users increasing, digital content and digital advertising has become very important because of its reach and speed. Acknowledging the importance of the medium, he said that even the government has started to leverage the medium and are advertising through it.”
The two-day virtual conference, the theme of which is ‘Towards the tipping point’, focuses on rejuvenating consumer demand, creating new demand in semi-urban and rural areas among the 500 million-plus internet users; creating new opportunities for Indian-owned brands by leveraging digital technologies and bring back Indian digital media business to its post-global pandemic levels by expanding its outreach.
The virtual event has more than 55 sessions, 110 speakers and over 2,000 delegates.
The lead speakers from media and platforms at the conference include Anant Goenka, Executive Director, The Indian Express; Harsh Mariwala, Founder and Chairman, Marico; Satyan Gajwani, Vice-Chairman, Times Internet; Girish Agarwal, Director, Dainik Bhaskar Group; Mark Read, CEO, WPP; Nitin Paranjpe, Chief Operating Officer, Unilever; among others.