Let's end the menace of Fake News!
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The increasing reach and impact of Fake News can be felt across the world. In the fast paced media environment of today even reputed media outlets end up broadcasting unverified news that later turns out to be false. No one has a good way to tackle the propagation of fake news over social media yet, but we can make sure that such news is not reported over reputable media outlets and websites that claim to be reputable.
Penalties and government regulations will obviously be seen as a means of censoring the press and suppressing dissent, so that's clearly out. Here is what I'm proposing:
The Parliament of India legislates, or the I&B ministry notifies a requirement that all news channels and websites must compulsorily have a tracker displaying the number of times they’ve broadcasted provably false news in the last 1 year:
"We have reported Fake News 14 (count) times in the last 12 months"
With a link where all the provably fake news broadcasted by the news outlet are listed.
Such a requirement will allow people to judge the relative credibility of news outlets for themselves. No one should oppose it in theory, because if you’re left leaning you’d think Republic and Times Now will have a higher count, and if you’re right leaning then you’ll think NDTV will have the highest count. Let's see who wins this battle! This requirement should also force every channel and website to verify its news more thoroughly in order to maintain a low count. Keeping the count only for the trailing 12 month period will also encourage news organizations to improve over time!
Who will decide if a news is fake and the count should increase? Any citizen can lodge a complaint with evidence on an online portal. A committee consisting of representatives from Press Council of India and the News Broadcasters Association will review the evidence and take a decision.
Any website which doesn't display this tracker will not be able to call itself a 'news' website. This information should be popularized so people know not to trust such sites.
No matter what way your politics leans, fake news is a menace we all should be fighting. It's dumbing people down and destroying the fabric of society! I am planning to take this idea all the way to the Prime Minister's Office and the Parliament of India. Please sign and share the Change.org petition to support the cause and help us build a social movement around this demand.
If this works, let's start to fix the problem of Fake News over social media that's hosted on websites that don't even claim to be reputable!
Link to the NDTV debate that got me thinking about this idea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ul4TlgurHr4&feature=youtu.be
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