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“I am a man who believes in self-regulation”: I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar on digital news

Information & Broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar said that fake news is worse than paid news and called for self-regulation of digital content. "The manipulation of public opinion over social media platforms has emerged as a critical threat to public life," Javadekar said at an online event hosted by the IAMAI on Thursday. "I am a man who believes in self-regulation. Industry bodies and digital media companies need to decide. For instance people can complaint to ASCI for complaints related to advertising. Similarly, there should be a mechanism for fake news," he said. "Otherwise everyone will have to bear the brunt of this menace," he added. "Paid news is much milder than fake news. It has a potent power of disturbing peace. Fake news has caused divisive social media campaigns, separatist movements, and intensified political conflicts, There is lack of targeted legislation, media literacy, and awareness to counter fake news," he said. Javadekar also name-dropped Singapore's Protection of Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) and Germany tightening its laws around online platforms. India's Information Technology Act did not envision today's scenario and hence does not deal with the menace, Javadekar said. Javadekar said that earlier in the Press Information Bureau, "we used to read the newspapers and follow the channels. Every evening we use to issue releases giving clarification if it was needed. Now if there is one tweet in the morning and you don’t respond immediately, then the damage is done. It happens at the speed of light, he said.…

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