Karnataka government approves state-backed fact-checking unit to fight fake news

Karnataka government approves state-backed fact-checking unit to fight fake news

By: vivek j&
August 22 2023

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Karnataka government approves state-backed fact-checking unit to fight fake news

(Source: X/@CMofKarnataka)

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has approved the formation of a state-level fact-checking unit in the southern State of Karnataka. He took this decision during a meeting on Monday, August 21, 2023, which he chaired in the office of the Karnataka Home Ministry on issues pertaining to cybersecurity in the State. 

A post on the chief minister’s official handle on X read, “Fake news that threatens democracy and disrupts the health of the society should be controlled, and all necessary rules and laws will be framed, including the establishment of a fact check unit in the state. A three-step measure was approved to detect fake news and syndicates that create fake news, stop the spread of fake news, and give severe punishment to the accused.” 

The Hindu quoted Information Technology and Bio-Technology (IT/BT) Minister Priyank Kharge as stating that the fact-checking unit will be functional under the State Home Department, while the IT/BT department will help devise the necessary laws to deal with people propagating fake news and involvement in cybercrimes. Kharge also told the media that even though the Bengaluru police is active on social media, it was important that the State has its own fact-checking unit. 

This fact-checking unit will have a monitoring committee, a fact-checking analysis team, and some nodal officers. This unit is expected to function using advanced tools to detect misinformation. 

The tweet on the chief minister's X account also noted that Home Minister Dr. G. Parameshwar, Minister Krishna Byre Gowda, Priyank Kharge, Chief Minister's Political Secretary Naseer Ahmed, Chief Minister Deputy Chief Secretary Dr. Rajneesh Goyal, Director General of Police Alok Mohan, Information and Public Relations Commissioner Hemant Nimbalkar were present during the meeting.

Back in June 2023, Kharge told News18 that “this unit will be established in collaboration with the Home Department and will focus on identifying and addressing fake ideas or news that violate the Information Technology Act and are circulated on social media.” Karnataka Home Minister G. Parameshwara has also previously expressed concerns over the socio-political implications of fake news and the necessity to tackle it. With the Chief Minister officially approving the fact-checking unit, it is expected to be operational soon. 


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