The Press Information Bureau has set up a fact-checking unit to verify news involving government ministries, departments, and schemes. The central government made the announcement on Thursday, urging the public to send across any information that they wanted verified.
“Received a forward that looks too good to be true or maybe came across a piece of news that you want verified?” the tweet said. “Send it across and we will fact check it for you, no questions asked.”
Principal Director General of PIB Kuldeep Singh Dhatwalia said that this was an attempt to curb false information being shared on social media. “We are starting with government-related news,” Dhatwalia told The Indian Express. “If it is not factually correct and it comes to our notice, we will ask the concerned officer of the particular ministry to check with the ministry and we will put out the factual position.”
Dhatwalia said that the bureau would be appreciative of those who flag seemingly fake information, adding that a new system was being put in place for which they were “identifying and training officers”. The team will be comprised of those who are already working with social media. The senior official said that while the verification is limited to government news, but a decision to expand may be taken in the future.
The announcement came a day after Vice President Venkaiah Naidu raised concerns over the spread of fake news, and urged bodies such as the Press Council of India and the News Broadcasters Association to implement a mechanism to curb the menace, according to PTI.
Early in October, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar had said that fake news was more dangerous than paid news. The minister had said there was a need for the government and media organisations to tackle the problem together.