The rise of digital and social media as powerful

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The rise of digital and social media as powerful platforms has only magnified the effect of fake and false news. Umpteen number of news/information portals are being set up as there are few entry barriers unlike in the traditional media. In addition, growing polarisation of society on ideological lines has made the job of spreading fake news easier. Content that denigrates leaders/groups of the opposite ideology based on falsehoods, deepens communal polarisation or incites hatred have gained traction in the last few years. In the past, communal violence in India was a localised affair. Today, it is extensively being fed and triggered through the Internet. Provocative content, inaccurate information, doctored videos, and pictures are being disseminated through various online and mobile platforms. The platforms serve like nodal agencies distributing unverified information. The advent of fake news is not new or recent, only its potential to reach people has amplified due to online platforms and applications that are free. Users creating hate content and sharing it can be booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). But the sheer expanse of the Internet and the anonymity it grants makes it difficult to track down people. Unlike mainstream media that falls under comprehensive regulation, online platforms have scope for wrongdoing due to the lack of binding rules, and the ability to keep owners and editors private like in
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12 | Page 9004418746 [email protected] the case of fake news sites. In the absence of such crucial information, there is no understanding of the liability and the credibility of the information that is being hosted on their respective sites. This is the main strength of the creators of fake news, the ability to remain anonymous in the guise of a media outlet. Most digital media outlets do not have basic information regarding editors, publishers or the physical address of the registered entity. We could do well to begin with some basic regulation for digital media outlets like compulsory and online registration of details. 15. Recently many women have anonymously narrated sexual harassment incidents on social media and named the alleged culprits. Such use of social media to name and shame people is against the spirit of due process of law and in the long run might have a backlash for survivors of sexual harassment. Discuss. In many ways, the naming and shaming campaign seems to be a pendulum that has swung to the other extreme in a climate where complaints of sexual harassment are not taken seriously despite laws prohibiting sexual harassment. But this swing is like asking for the death penalty without a trial — in this case, a social media trial.
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