MeitY notifies PIB fact check unit as fact checker of Central Government

Date:

Vinod Bhat

Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) had updated the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (“IT Rules 2021”) and were notified on April 6, 2023, among others, to have in place a fact check unit that reads as follows:

…the intermediary shall inform its rules and regulations, privacy policy and user agreement to the user in English or any language specified in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution in the language of his choice and shall make reasonable efforts [by itself, and to cause the users of its computer resource to not host], display, upload, modify, publish, transmit, store, update or share any information that,—.

(v)      deceives or misleads the addressee about the origin of the message or knowingly and intentionally communicates any misinformation or information which is patently false and untrue or misleading in nature [or, in respect of any business of the Central Government, is identified as fake or false or misleading by such fact check unit of the Central Government as the Ministry may, by notification published in the Official Gazette, specify];

  1. The Ministry, in consultation with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB), vide Gazette Notification S.O.1491(E) dated 20.03.2024 notified the fact check unit (FCU) under the Press Information Bureau (PIB) of the MIB as the fact checking unit of the central government under rule 3(1)(b)(v) of the of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (IT Rules 2021).
  2. Since November 2019, the FCU established under PIB has been effectively working with the purpose of tackling fake news pertaining to the Government policies, schemes, rules and regulations, programmes, initiatives, etc. Through an established rigorous fact-checking procedure, the PIB Fact Check Unit helps in dispelling myths, rumours and false claims, and provides accurate and reliable information to the public. Understandably, the mandate of PIB’s Fact Check Unit aligns with the objective of actioning a fact check unit for any business of the government under rule 3(1)(b)(v) of the IT Rules 2021.

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