The proposal of fact check by government’s media arm Press Information Bureau under the IT Rules has been made with a view to strengthen the due diligence by intermediaries and public feedback has been invited on the same, Parliament was informed on Friday.
In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Minister of state for electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar said with the expansion of the Internet and more and more Indians coming online, the number of Indians exposed to false and untrue or misleading information available on the Internet has also grown. He said that the centre under Information Technology Act, 2000, has made the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (IT Rules) which cast specific obligations on intermediaries, including social media intermediaries, to observe due diligence while discharging its duties.
The due diligence under the rule includes making reasonable efforts by the intermediaries to check their users from hosting, displaying, uploading, publishing, transmitting or storing information which knowingly or intentionally communicates any misinformation, or which is patently false and untrue or misleading in nature. “With a view to strengthen the due diligence by intermediaries under the IT Rules, Government has invited feedback from the public on extending such due diligence to include information identified as fake by the Fact Check Unit of the Press Information Bureau,” Chandrasekhar said.
The minister said that the government had set up a Fact Check Unit in November 2019 under the Press Information Bureau (PIB) with a view to achieve the aim of an open, safe and trusted and accountable Internet. The Fact Check Unit takes cognizance of fake news both suo motu and by way of queries sent by citizens and, in respect of information pertaining to the Central Government, responded to the same with correct information while identifying fake or misleading information as such, he said.