The ministry's parliamentary response also included a summary of steps taken by the Election Commission to restrain fake news during elections. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in response to a parliamentary question said that punitive action has been initiated against fake news in six cases between 2020 and 2021 by the Press Council of India. The answer was given in response to questions concerning fake news on social media posed by three Lok Sabha MPs— Dulal Chand Goswani from Janata Dal (United), Mitesh Patel and Shardaben Patel from the BJP. Why it matters? The circulation of fake news has grown tremendously and has been aided by the rise of social media which has become the primary source of news, especially in the midst of the pandemic. In a government advisory issued to social media companies in May this year, the Ministry for Electronics and Information Technology said that "there is a trend of circulation of misinformation, false/misleading news and sharing anonymous data related to Coronavirus in various social media platforms creating panic among the public." Fake news is also fuelling vaccine hesitancy in the country as people refuse the inoculation for fear of impotence and death. Details of action taken against fake news The ministry revealed details about the efforts to curb fake news by government bodies. They are as follows: The Minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur informed the lower house that action had been taken against 12 TV channels “for telecasting false, defamatory programmes etc., in violation of…
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