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Delhi govt to hire pvt firm to fact check, cites Covid misinformation

The government has floated two separate tenders for the initiative, observing it is "extremely difficult" for a government to set up and maintain such an infrastructure, especially in light of the fact that Covid "is here to stay".

Written by Sourav Roy Barman | New Delhi | Published: July 15, 2020 3:39:56 am
Delhi government, fact check, covid misinformation, Delhi news, Indian express news The government has been live streaming briefings of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy CM Manish Sisodia ever since the nationwide lockdown began in March.

The Delhi government is hiring private firms for “real-time tracking and monitoring” of news coverage on TV, print and digital platforms, fact checking, and roping in agencies for live streaming press conferences and generating video content for publicity.

The government has floated two separate tenders for the initiative, observing it is “extremely difficult” for a government to set up and maintain such an infrastructure, especially in light of the fact that Covid “is here to stay”. The DIP currently has eight separate units for information dissemination and publicity.

As per the tender document, the PR agency will be entrusted with nine tasks. “A dedicated team of media professionals for real-time tracking, monitoring, documenting and reporting of news media coverage on electronic news platforms. Separate teams of media professionals to be engaged for similar daily exercise for print and digital news media,” it says. It adds a dedicated team of fact checkers will also be engaged to “verify news stories and social media content”and the task of fact checkers will be crucial as “several rumours and myths are prone to go viral about a new disease like corona which can be detrimental to public health”. The firm will also be entrusted with hiring media consultants for each cabinet minister, translators, graphic designers, content creators and senior media professionals.

Bids have also been invited for hiring a live streaming and production agency. The scope of work of the proposed initiative points out that there is “a sense of panic amongst people due to lack of information or spread of misinformation” over the pandemic. The government has been live streaming briefings of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy CM Manish Sisodia ever since the nationwide lockdown began in March. The work of the agency will also involve creating news-based videos for dissemination across multiple news portals, “especially on digital media and social media networks where content like this is highly consumed”, and deputing a minimum of five video coverage teams to cover events and press conferences of the government.

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