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Journalism and Fake News Discussed on Day 2 at FICCI FRAMES 2018

Fake news is a major area of concern for modern democracies like India and there is a need to collectively tackle it through different means.

The Indian Express Executive Editor Anant Goenka said BBC DG Tony Hall had visited the newspaper’s office recently and he stated that the best way to beat fake news is to have more journalists on the ground.

Goenka said The Indian Express is investing to create a network of correspondents to verify facts that emerge from the ground.

Boom managing editor Jency Jacob said that the mainstream media companies are falling prey to the menace of fake news as the traditional gate-keeping is missing.
“Are the people at the desk equipped to understand fake is and genuine news or what is coming from ANI or the agencies can they taken at a face value,” Jacob posed.

He gave the example of a story by ANI that Donkeys were put behind bars in UP which later turned out to be false. However, the story went viral and was picked up by international papers.

On the issue of Hashtag journalism, Medianama editor Nikhil Pahwa said that the main issue facing the website is said the business model which is largely driven by numbers to get more advertising revenue. “It’s a business model problem that is taking us down this path,” he noted.

Mirror Now editor Faye Dsouza concurred with Pahwa. She said that advertisers buy numbers and the quality of content doesn’t matter.

Pahwa further stated that the scale of fake news is humongous due to the increase in connectivity and ease of distribution of content. He also said that Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp need to find ways of addressing the problem.

He also said that the intense personalisation of social media feeds is polarizing the world.

Jamia Millia Islamia Associate Professor Vibodh Parthasarathi said that there is no registration process in setting up a website as opposed to a TV or a newspaper. He said that there is a need to recognise the fact that there is a gap as far as lack of regulation for digital is concerned.

However, the panel was unanimous in its view that there is no need for a regulation for digital.

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