Why is Fake News an Epidemic in India?

We humans know more truths than any species on earth. Yet we also believe the most falsehoods. Yuval Noah Harari

The Indian elections, aka greatest dance of democracy just came to an end. While some are extremely happy about the outcome, others are rather sad, which happens in most elections, though there was a major new candidate in 2019…… Fake News.

Yes Fake News arrived in India long time back but in the last 2 months its relevance and screen time sky rocketed. Here are some of them well cataloged by Alt News.

MisInformation is turning out to be a global menace, and of course social media platforms are the ones to be blamed first, and yes they do play a significant role in spreading the information, but as Yuval Noah Harari writes in this awesome article “When it comes to uniting people around a common story, fiction actually enjoys three inherent advantages over the truth".

This explains the phenomenon that we as humans though aware of facts, usually tend to prefer fiction. During the Indian elections we pretty much lived in 2 months of post truth where News was a hot property being created to serve agenda’s of various political forces. The crass difference was there were absolutely no facts, and editors changed their roles to movie directors.

While that might be good for business for corporations, it is truly damaging for the Indian democracy as it corrupts the basic nature of a democracy that is an informed choice. While efforts are being made to bust Fake News they are not really doing much to curb the ever growing production of misinformation.

We need a systematic approach of multiple stake holders, while we need to generate large scale public awareness via campaigns and education, we also need stricter laws in place to discourage production of Fake News, also tremendous increase in Fact Checking capacities of multiple agencies.

This discussion is not limited to India, its happening globally, if you have 9 minutes I would urge you to watch this video focusing on Europe.

I honestly hope the new Indian government takes a stand against Fake News and does not use it to push its own propaganda.
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