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Tamil Nadu government sets up Fact Check Unit to flag fake news, misinformation

The FCU will be able to take suo motu cognizance on fact-checking or act based on complaints received, as per media reports.

The Tamil Nadu government has set up a Fact Check Unit (FCU) to deal with fake news, misinformation, disinformation, and hate speech pertaining to the government on any media platform, The New Indian Express reported on November 1.

According to the government order seen by the news outlet, the FCU can take suo motu cognizance on fact-checking or act based on complaints received. This unit is empowered to check the authenticity of information related to the Tamil Nadu government’s announcements, policies, schemes, guidelines, and initiatives. It will consist of a Central Task Force located in Chennai and each district in the state will have its own analysis team.

Iyan Karthikeyan, Former Editor of the Youturn.in, announced on X that he has been appointed to serve as the Mission Director of the FCU:

If any content investigated by the FCU is found to be fake, the unit will place fact-checked information on all platforms  (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube), the report stated.


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It is not yet clear if this FCU can order platforms to remove content or order internet service providers to block content. Right now, this blocking power lies with the central government under Section 69A of the IT Act, 2000. The state government can only forward a blocking request to the central government.

The Karnataka government is also currently working on setting up a fact-checking unit.

Why does this matter: While fighting fake news and misinformation is the need of the hour, government-appointed units engaging in judging what is fake news or misinformation raises plenty of concerns because these units could flag any content that is critical of the ruling government as fake or misleading, leading to censorship. This harms the constitutional rights to freedom of speech and expression. Furthermore, states are setting up fact-check units while there are already multiple constitutional challenges against the central government’s plan to set up a fact-checking unit. A ruling on this matter by the Bombay High Court is expected on December 1.

Political commentators on X have also already raised multiple concerns about the powers of Tamil Nadu’s FCU and its close ties to the ruling government.


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