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India’s I&B Ministry has no answer for query on expertise of fact-checkers working for govt’s Fact Check Unit

Will there be any standard operating procedure/manual to follow under the I&B Ministry’s Fact Check Unit?

Officers of India’s Press Information Bureau (PIB) are involved in fact-checking of news as part of the body’s Fact Check Unit (FCU), according to the Information & Broadcasting (MIB) Minister Anurag Thakur. The Minister was responding to a query raised by Member of Parliament (MP) Imtiaz Jaleel Syed and two others, who wanted to know whether the government’s press body has employed or hired “domain experts/agencies” to carry out the fact-checking process. The MP’s questions focused on the operations of the fact-check wing of the PIB, which will soon be authorized to flag “false or fake” information about government-related news and online platforms will have to take down such information. MP Syed asked the MIB whether the government has prepared any “standard operating procedure/manual to conduct the fact checking” and the details of the budget that’s been allotted to the PIB for fact-checking activities. What the government did and didn’t respond to: The MIB stated that the Fact Check Unit - set up under the PIB in 2019--works under a “FACT model” that is “Find, Assess, Create and Target” and “takes cognizance of news both suo-motu and by way of queries sent by citizens”. The citizens send these queries on the PIB portal or through e-mail and WhatsApp. “The unit responds to the relevant queries with correct information relating to subject concerning the Central Government,” the reply states adding that the unit has so far responded to 37,000 actionable queries and has busted over 1,160 fake news. Regarding the query…

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Curious about the intersection of technology with education, caste and welfare rights. For story tips, please feel free to reach out at sarasvati@medianama.com

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