Centre notifies fact check unit under PIB to monitor online content

Centre notifies fact check unit under PIB to monitor online content

New Delhi | The Centre on Wednesday notified the fact check unit under the Press Information Bureau (PIB) to monitor online content pertaining to the government for accuracy.

The fact check unit has been notified under IT Rules of 2021 by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

"The central government hereby notifies the Fact Check Unit under the Press Information Bureau of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting as the fact check unit of the Central Government for the purposes of the said sub-clause, in respect of any business of the Central Government," the notification said.

The Fact Check Unit will be the nodal agency to tackle or alert about all fake news or misinformation related to the central government.

The notification came days after the Bombay High Court declined to restrain the Centre from notifying the unit. The petition was filed by stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra and the Editors Guild of India.

The petitioners have moved the Supreme Court against the Bombay High Court verdict and the matter is expected to come up for hearing on Thursday.

In April last year, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) promulgated the 2023 Rules, which further amended the Information Technology Rules, 2021.

Under the new rules, if the fact check unit comes across or is informed about any posts that are "fake", "false" or contain "misleading" facts pertaining to the business of the government, it would flag it to the social media intermediaries.

The online intermediaries would then have to take down such content if they wanted to retain their "safe harbour" (legal immunity against third-party content).

The fact check unit under PIB was established in November 2019 with a stated objective of acting as a deterrent to creators and disseminators of fake news and misinformation.

It also provides people with an easy avenue to report suspicious and questionable information pertaining to the Government of India.

The unit is mandated to counter misinformation on government policies, initiatives and schemes either suo motu or under a reference via complaints.

The unit actively monitors, detects, and counters disinformation campaigns, ensuring that false information about the government is promptly exposed and corrected.

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