The Press Information Bureau's Fact Check Unit, set up to take cognisance of fake news, has responded to over 28,000 queries so far, Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur told the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
The unit, established under the Press Information Bureau in November 2019, takes cognisance of fake news both on its own and through queries sent by citizens on its portal or through e-mail and social media. It responds to the relevant queries with correct and updated information.
“PIB Fact Check Unit has responded to 28,578 actionable queries till date,” the minister said in a written response to a question.
Replying to a question on government initiatives to check fake news, Thakur said the Press Council of India has framed 'Norms of Journalistic Conduct' under the Press Council Act, 1978 for the print media. The norms among other things emphasise the principles of accuracy and fairness.
For television, all channels are required to adhere to the Programme Code under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, including that programmes should not contain anything obscene defamatory, deliberate, false and suggestive innuendos and half-truths, he said.
For digital news publishers, the government notified the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 under the IT Act, 2000 on February 25, 2021, which among other things provides for a Code of Ethics for adherence, the minister said.
On a query on action being taken against defaulters, the minister said the government and the Press Council of India take action in appropriate cases where violation of the norms, Programme Code and Code of Ethics are found. It also issues advisories from time to time to the media to adhere to the laid down codes, he said.
(With PTI Inputs)