SRINAGAR: Police on Wednesday said it is fully equipped to deal with the menace of fake news while warning of legal action against the admins of social media groups indulging in rumour mongering. It also underscored the role of media in countering the menace.
SSP Shopian Sandeep Chaudhary (IPS) while addressing a seminar on ‘Fake News’ organised by Shopian Police at district police headquarters, said the quantum jump in circulation and prevalence of fake news makes it absolutely critical which creates the need to sensitise people about its impact.
“Fake News is mostly spread through social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter. Admins of various (social media) groups have been made aware of the fact that they are responsible for any fake news spread through their groups. Legal action under relevant sections of law will be initiated against groups found indulging in rumour mongering,” he said.
He said fake news becomes much more dangerous in a volatile society as one wrong information or rumour might incite people to indulge in violence.
“The biggest tragedy of the fake news is that people don’t even realise that they are being exploited by someone else to serve their own interests,” SSP Shopian said. “We use words like hoax, misinformation, and untruth, but simply put, fake news is one of the main causes for disruption of peace and harmony in our society.”
In Kashmir, Sandeep said fake news about encounters and clashes are common. He suggested the application of six rules for people to check the veracity of any news item circulated in media. 1) What kind of content is this – news, opinion, advertising or something else? 2) Who and what are the sources cited, and why should I believe them? 3) What is the evidence and how was it vetted? 4) Is the main point of the piece proven by the evidence? What’s missing? 6) Is there an issue here that I want to learn more about and where could I do that?
The officer said fake news spreads like wildfire and can be detrimental to the maintenance of law and order in society. He said the only way to deal with it is awareness among people.
“Media has to play a vital role in countering fake news because it undermines the legitimacy of hard working media-persons who work day and night to gather the true facts and bring them to people,” he said.
“Police and media have to work in tandem to deal with menace of fake news in our modern networked societies,” he said.