Thiruvananthapuram: The police have been caught off guard by reports that a special team has been deployed to prevent the production and dissemination of fake news and to find out those behind such news.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced that a special team has been formed under the leadership of ADGP Manoj Abraham. However, he did not say what kind of news and whether it is social media, newspapers or TV channels that would be under the purview of the investigation. He also did not mention who all will make up the special investigation team (SIT).
Even the team leader came to know about the chief minister's announcement only after colleagues told him about it late at night.
Currently, there is the police cyber team to look for fake news on social media. So far, more than 50 cases related to fake news have been registered, senior officials said. They, however, wonder what criteria should the police use to verify the veracity of news appearing in the papers and channels.
The government has also not issued an order regarding the formation of the special team.
Under current IT law, a case can only be registered for publishing news that is communal or demeans and insults women. There is no section under which a case can be registered against any other kind of news that the Kerala police considers fake, top officials said.
Don’t examine media news, govt tells PRD’s Fact Check team
The government has directed that the Fact Check section of the Public Relations Department no longer has to examine any news in print, visual and online media.
The government brought about the change amid the controversy over the portrayal of news that is unfavourable to the government as fake. Such news need not be checked or branded as fake news, PRD director UV Jose said.
Instead, the Fact Check section should check information related to the state government on social media such as YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram. Any information that is false and fake can be published with a ‘misleading’ or ‘fake’ stamp. Any information found false should be reported to the police and handed over to the media for publication, the PRD director said.