While attending the Chintan Shivir, organised at Surajkund, Haryana, Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasised the harm of fake news and the need for fact-checking. PM Modi accepted the increasing role of technology and said that people must be made aware of mechanisms to verify messages before forwarding them.
Tell me, what does this mean? The statement in itself is proof that the Prime Minister wants the country’s men and women to be digitally aware and sound. As he understands it, in the modern concept of the nation-state, sovereignty holds the highest virtue. In today’s time, when the digital global environment has advanced, data sovereignty has become an important component in defining the authority of a state.
Understanding this becomes extremely crucial for a prime minister who is farsighted and is running a programme like Digital India. An initiative that not only made government services accessible to the last man in the queue but also cut across bureaucratic barriers.
But with digital development and internet penetration, digital safety has become extremely important, a spectrum that has been the singular focus of the Modi government.
The digital arena and the related challenges
I hope you are not in a hurry because I am going to make some shocking revelations. India incurred a loss of around INR 165 million in the first half of the year 2021 alone due to loss of data. In May 2021, personal data like names, addresses, delivery locations, and email ids of 1 million customers of the famous pizza brand Domino’s leaked.
An unidentified breach affected 35 million users of Juspay, an India-based payment processor, which was later found to sell for USD 5000 on the dark web. Air India, the national airline of India, experienced a data breach in February 2021 when a record of a total of 4.5 million global customers was hacked. These were some reports of data leaks, simply a breach of privacy. Next, let’s come to another problematic aspect of social media, which is exposure to unwanted content. I, you, or any other mobile user is concerned not only about our safety while using the internet, but also about the type of content we consume.
PM Modi’s plan to secure India digitally
The world has transformed; it has grown from knowledge-centric to technology-centric, and India is not only walking shoulder to shoulder with the world but is also leading the world.
We are huge in number. Don’t trust me. Let me put forth some data. With about 900 million Internet users, India’s digital penetration is expected to reach its peak by 2025. With such a vast number of digital users, it becomes necessary that the country’s administration get a hold of the digital world. It ensures that the data is collected, organised, and processed with high confidentiality in the country itself.
Since the inception of PM Modi’s second term in 2019, the Prime Minister has been busy teaching the code of conduct to not only social media platforms but also propaganda websites that run on these platforms. There have been constant efforts in the direction of regulating the digital space, be it social media, online news portrayals or OTT platforms, by the Modi government. As a result, the BJP government has clashed with not only BigTech but also alleged news portals like The Wire, which have accused the central government of censoring the online space and their voices.
A new addition to the bunch
In its latest effort in this direction, the central government is planning to set up committees. As per a report of The Economic Times, the government will set up one or more centrally appointed Grievance Appellate Committees (GACs) within three months of the notification of amendments to the Information Technology (IT) Rules of 2021 under the Information Technology Act.
So, the question is, what would be the function of such a committee? The committee will consist of a chairperson and two whole-time members appointed by the central government. Of the three, one will be ex-officio, while the other two will be independent members. They will give users of social media platforms recourse. Thus, there would be an enhanced probability that the complaints would not only be resolved early but also before approaching the courts. It will have giants like Facebook and Twitter in its fold as well.
Now, there would be a shorter timeline of 24 hours for acting upon sensitive content, along with instructing intermediaries to “respect all the rights accorded to the citizens under the Constitution.” The GACs will resolve appeals within 30 days. The government has gone ahead with the step despite the industry’s lobbying hard for a self-regulatory body, something they had themselves failed at.
How the new panel will bring down the shutters for propaganda portals
This is a welcome step for everyone, barring the left-liberal cabal. While the decision aims to safeguard the interests of citizens, it will benefit the nation as well. This step can be viewed as safeguarding the digital space, which means now you cannot write, publish, or share anything on the platforms and get away with it. Rather, the one committing the sin is answerable for his/her sins. This puts the alleged online news portals at extreme risk if they are caught red-handed publishing fake news to advance their agenda.
If we look at the current time, The Wire’s Meta story has been the talk of the town, something that the Meta itself denounced. Earlier, the publication had gathered flak for its Tek Fog story, which could stand a hearing in a court of law. There is enough evidence to prove that these portals running on the left-liberal agenda are nothing more than fake news emitters.
Why do not the fake news emitters get nightmares with the government’s new GAC initiative? The portals can no longer publish anything and everything and get away with it, forcing the matter to court, as it becomes a time-consuming process and, over time, the fake they spread fades from public memory. Now, the portals cannot run to court and would have to face scrutiny. Finally, there would be less fake news and propaganda in the public domain now.
Support us to strengthen the ‘Right’ ideology of cultural nationalism by purchasing the best quality garments from TFI-STORE.COM