When the dispensation benefits from fake news, the likelihood of a solution gets diminished, Abhinandan Sekhri, the co-founder and CEO of Newslaundary, underlined while deliberating on the menace of hoax news.
Speaking at a conference titled ‘Countering Misinformation: Policies and Solutions’ at the India International Centre, Sekhri argued that the subscription-based news eco-system would significantly reduce the quandary of fake news to an extent.
“As long as your advertisement rates are determined by the number of people watching, there is an incentive for news to become the big boss. Therefore, facts don’t matter. All over the world, the fundamental commerce of news is changing and therein lies one of the solution,” he said.
Citing a BBC research done last year, Rupa Jha, head of Indian Languages, BBC World Service, stated that a rising tide of nationalism in India is driving ordinary citizens to spread fake news.
“What we found out in the research that the right-wing network on Twitter is very well aligned compared to left-wing. Any fake news which is right-leaning, therefore, gets spread very easily and quickly and there is overlap of fake news and pro-Modi political activities,” she said, pointing out that there is a concerted effort as far as politics of fake news is concerned.
For Jha, the panacea to the problem lies in the government taking steps to encourage and empower independent journalism rather than indulging in boycotting and censorship. “I think that will take care of lot of fake news that goes around,” she added.
Organised by Sflc.in, the panelists for the conference also included Prasanto K Roy (Tech Policy and Media Professional) and Malavika Bala Subramanian (WebQoof, The Quint’s fact-checking arm).