THE NEW SUNDAY EXPRESS VOICES BUFFET MAGAZINE ANIRBAN GANGULY AMAR BHUSHAN RAVI SHANKAR ANUJA CHANDRAMOULI TRILOCHAN SASTRY MATA AMRITANANDAMAYI PEOPLE WELLNESS BOOKS FOOD ART & CULTURE ENTERTAINMENT MARCH 17 2019 SUNDAY PAGES 12 T he Oxford English Dictionary defines fact-check as ‘investigate in order to verify the facts’. Global Fact—the annual conference of the International Fact-Checking Network—has doubled in size every two years since its first session in London in 2014. In India, digital media evolved post-2014 Lok Sabha elections and today with another election at the door, there is a vitiating atmosphere. Fake news has grown to gigantic proportions till the line between what is true and what is not has become blurry This has given rise to fact-checkers, who have taken up cudgels to go past . the smokescreen. For the first time, the Election Commission has asked that all candidates will have to give details of their social media accounts while filing their nomination papers for the national election. And every day post-Balakot, both Pakistan and India seem to be competing against each other in a game of ‘our fact vs your myth’. M Dinakaran, Deputy Inspector General and chief spokesperson of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), has gone on record to say how the paramilitary force was targeted after the Pulwama terror attack. While some circulated fake news about a team of sniffer dogs dying in the blast, others shared morphed gory images of bloodied parts in a bucket, claiming that this was how the bodies of the slain jawans were being handed over to their families. Another viral image showed an injured army man in combat outfit with bandages on his body The post claimed that the . man left his treatment mid-way to teach terrorists ‘a lesson’ after hearing that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given the Army a ‘free hand’ to retaliate. Later, it was proved that the photograph was of a Russian soldier and was taken during a 2004 terror attack in Russia. A dedicated team of 12 to 15 people from across the country debunked at least five posts a day starting February 14. To counter fake news, the CRPF put out an advisory on the attacks and also asked three lakh of their own personnel to be alert and bust fake news by sending out fact-based reports. Before even journalism began, fake news was there. An early record dates back to ancient Rome when Antony met Cleopatra and his political enemy Octavian launched a smear campaign against him with “short, sharp slogans written upon coins in the style of archaic tweets”. The propagandist became the first Roman emperor. Now, there is an army sitting on social media to th y s M ter s u B DRA VINive GO L HI J ET RA J te ebsi ni w er’s oom B ista erv e Pak s fenc sted ews Ob US de rer Bu ld N ing ctu Wor le claim anufa nned a c ent m n pla Indi arti pm arti inst i equ heed M uit aga ims’ Lock e a laws false cla kistani l to fi aking ‘ ing a Pa bruary r m down t on Fe fo je ut abo fighter 16 FERS OW 27. OLL F L 3.13 new ga e tin inut put es y m ner, strik st ever ir or ot a almo he c s dt lak e Ba rrative s aroun ke new . h ith t he na est . Fa ion W t lect zword urs to r on ae spin k Sabh the buz t rumo o u s nd L check i up to p a AV YA D act- s gear T TA f U r AD EDH rrio By M wa Political Upheavals Dhruv Rathee is 23 years old and a social media sensation. His YouTube video page has over 4.6 lakh subscribers and climbing. A former photography and filmmaking enthusiast, who was earlier content with posting videos about his travel, today Rathee is busy being part of the ever-growing tribe of dedicated fact-checkers, who do not shy away from taking on the powers-that-be. One of the first political videos Rathee released was ‘BJP Exposed: Lies Behind the Bullshit’—the video intercut Modi’s pre-election speeches with his government’s failures and backtracking on promises. “I made that video out of frustration,” Rathee says. The video registered over 50,000 views. Rathee turned into a social media influencer when, in a video, he debunked claims about the inefficiency of Arvind Kejriwal’s Delhi government. Ahmedabad-based Pratik Sinha—described in his words as ‘geeky’ and the co-founder of India’s leading website on fact-checking, AltNews—started fact-checking after his over 300-km-long march on foot from Ahmedabad to Una to protest the flogging of Dalit men. He decided to launch a digital outlet to talk about people’s issues. Debunking fake news automatically became an objective. Sinha believes that if something is viral on Facebook, it’s at least five times more viral on WhatsApp and more difficult to counter. Recently his site fact, checked a set of images doing rounds on social media supposedly depicting the impact of Indian Air Force’s airstrike in Pakistan. The photographs show mass graves and dead bodies. AltNews found the original photographs on Turn to page 2 n N atio ILSO onetis W m De ES JAMpher the i Dec AIN AJ J r IN IK S T PRAews k 33.9 T V RA HRU er D HEE ub e YouT 16, h t the in 20 s abou o d vide t. laim In a nked c of Arvin rnmen u ncy ve go deb icie elhi f inef iwal’s D RS WE Kejr L LO O F k 37.7 5.4L k 200 ata ed d alys e CAG, , to An th oF from T and M ere D hat th tial CB e t tan prov no subs he t was ase in ew cre er of n irect in b rd num ayers o n due p ectio . tax oll tion x c onetisa ta em to d ERS FOL K ye PANHoax Sla hat ge t ima unds an sed he ro Expo doing t dia. It oto e was ocial m erial ph AK NAYian n s d an a nd o e a s in RAT nd show maged tructure ed BHALogical I a n of d royed s as claim re The uma ion H ment dest kot. It w ures we he n T t ed U velop Bala the pic trikes. unk e s Deb urce D kash that no that st-IAF Getty k o Reso ster Pra claims ere of p inal is a oes bac i Min dekar’s dents w rig and g 05. o u 0 ge Java miri st obs ima ctober 2 sh ym . O Ka ed b ERS to a LOW arm ulwam h RS FOL -P WE post L LO LOW SM HA a ked chec unds ct- ro ly g te fa ebsi ges doin pposed F’s e w ma su of IA Th f i t edia set o ocial m e impac . The h istan s s on cting t ak mas i dep rike in P s show d dead airst ograph hroude nd the t s pho es and ews fou s on rav s. AltN graph tually g c to ie bod inal pho s that a ig mage 015. or y I 2 Gett back to RS WE te da L LO AltN r.in er ecke inist at 35 ctch Fa me M laim th e Pri c er th nked di’s ebu dra Mo built ov aled D n e re ve Nare rts wer rs. It re orts we po r yea rp ween ai air fou et ven last only se tional b t a tha e oper 18. S mad and 20 L O W E R 4 FOL 201 1.9L amplify fake news. It is all a vicious cycle of untruths. It is only the fact-checkers who stand in the way . What began as a hobby for many has turned into a full-fledged profession now. From college graduates to seasoned professionals, many are turning to fact-checking—some on a full-time basis with a proper office and team dedicated to it, while others are doing it part-time, teaming up with like-minded individuals. In fact, there are training workshops, such as the recent ones conducted by Google, and also by other private bodies that teach the youth how to go about fact-checking. FO 1.2L k 104 FO 61L k 70.9 68.5 L k 54.3 k 35.1
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