Consulting stakeholders on ways to check misinformation flows: I&B minister

Union minister Anurag Singh Thakur on Tuesday said the central government was consulting stakeholders over means that can be adopted to stem misinformation flows into India, especially global media outlets.

Interacting with delegates at the Y20 summit here, the information and broadcasting minister said that the government has already issued guidelines for information-disseminating companies, one of which is appointment of a ‘grievance officer’, as part of its efforts to check the menace.

“The I&B Ministry is taking feedback on what else can be done to stop the flow of misinformation. Reporters and many individuals are doing their bit to spread positive news,” he stated.

Thakur, who is also the Union Youth Affairs & Sports Minister, said with passage of time, “more maturity” will dawn on the media industry and the flow of misinformation will gradually ebb.

He noted that publishers, on being pointed out that fake news has been published or misinformation disseminated, takes corrective measures voluntarily.

“In the second step, (media) associations play a role in stopping such news. The ministry comes in third, but very few complaints of news and entertainment sectors come to us,” Thakur said.

He stated that around three years ago, the government had set up a fact-checking unit for official programmes, which is doing its job well.

Quoting mentions made in a UN meeting, Thakur claimed that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the world was more affected by “infodemic rather than pandemic”.

Welcoming the lateral entry of corporate leaders into public services, the minister said that the government wants more such people as their “rich experience” has been immensely benefitting the country.

On a query on Jammu and Kashmir, Thakur said people of the region are enjoying equal rights like their counterparts in the rest of the country.

“As the BJP Yuva Morcha president, when I had taken out a yatra from Kolkata to Kashmir and wanted to hoist the national flag in the valley, I was imprisoned. But there are no such restrictions anymore,” he said.

Talking about the northeast region, Thakur said, “With over 5,300 kilometres of international border, the region has significant strategic value. What Northeast offers in terms of tourism, horticulture, handloom, sports, culture and cuisines is unique.”

Thakur also noted that youth is the engine which drives the nation towards success.

“Innovation, entrepreneurship and problem solving will be the cornerstone for youth-led development anywhere in the world,” he said, while addressing the summit.

There are ever-evolving opportunities in agriculture, defence, sports, media and entertainment, social entrepreneurship, and youth are the drivers of this revolution, the minister stated.

“The Indian economy has increased in size from being tenth to fifth-largest in the world in the past nine years. We are a diverse, democratic and demand-driven country,” he maintained.

The country’s demographic dividend is uniquely poised to usher in an era of rapid social, economic, environmental and technological innovation and advancement.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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