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Impact of Fake News on Politics

Impact of Fake News on Politics

By Richa Shukla and Manisha Toliwal

History and social sciences were my interests. I was always interested in knowing how societies get organized, why there is rich and poor divide, why there are classes. I was never a political. I think we are all political in a way. Politics decides our day-to-day life. [1]

                                                                                                - Pawan Kalyan

Politics has always played a major role in each person’s life, whether the person is interested in politics  or not, but politics are always in our lives for the reason that present world is depends on political conditions of each country of the world. Today’s world is about globalization, globalization helps in developing the relationship between countries but at the same time it also gives chances to countries to interfere in the matters of other country and this develop the idea of influencing politics of other country because influencing politics leads to influence people which directly impact on the government of that country and as we know globalization is about business and when competition is with whole world one need to influence people because by controlling people one can control a country and one should never forget that in India, Britishers came for trade and that very trade made India’s citizen dependent on Britishers.

The concept of influencing people is vast and this concept is not novel to world but this concept is from yesteryears from the times of kings and queens. At that time when a king want to attack the empire of other king he did not directly attack on his empire but he sends  his detective/spy to know the condition, situation of that king’s empire to know what are the weak point of his contemporary’s empire and how he should  need to prepare his people for a war, but present world is not of Kings or Queens but it is a digital world and this world not only gave scope to get excess in other country’s internal affairs but it also gave an opportunity to create one, by sharing a news which is untrue, false or partially true in short a fake news.

 News have its own impact on politics, news has power to create or to destroy the image of any political leader in the eye of common people. Reading news is a habit of almost all people of the world and for some it comes on the top list of their routine, but what if the news you’re reading to or listening to is propaganda to influence your views on politics.

According to Cambridge Dictionary fake news means “false stories that appears to be news, spread on the internet or using other media, usually created to influence political views or as a joke.[2]

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

Fake news is nothing new. While fake news was in the headlines frequently in the 2016 US election cycle, the origins of fake news date back to before the printing press. Rumors and false stories have probably been around as long as humans have lived in groups where power matters. Until the printing press was invented, news was usually transferred from person to person via word of mouth. The ability to have an impact on what people know is an asset that has been prized for many centuries. Forms of writing inscribed on materials like stone, clay and papyrus appeared several thousand years ago. The information in these writings was usually limited to the leaders of the group (emperors, pharaohs, Incas, religious and military leaders, and so on). Controlling information gave some people power over others and has probably contributed to the creation of most of the hierarchical cultures we know today. Knowledge is power. Those controlling knowledge, information, and the means to disseminate information became group leaders, with privileges that others in the group did not have. In many early state societies, remnants of the perks of leadership remain-pyramids, castles, lavish household goods, and more.[3]

Post-Printing Press Era: The invention of the printing press and the concurrent spread of literacy made it possible to spread information more widely. Those who were literate could easily use that ability to manipulate information to those who were not literate. As more people became literate, it became more difficult to mislead by misrepresenting what was written.[4]

As literacy rates increased, it eventually became economically feasible to print and sell information. This made the ability to write convincingly and authoritatively on a topic a powerful skill. Leaders have always sought to have talented writers in their employ and to control what information was produced. . Printed information became available in different formats and from different sources.[5]

Mass-Media Era: Media is being considered as the fourth estate and the fourth pillar of our democratic society after the executive, judiciary and legislative. It has got enormous responsibility so far as establishing a relationship between the governments and governed. In the last few years we have witnessed an enhanced interface between the media and common man. It is the media be it print or electronic has become a part of people’s live.[6]

Internet Era: The rise of social media itself has also been seen as central. Sites like Facebook are accused of creating “filter bubbles”, the phenomenon of showing people things that they like or tend to agree with, and hiding those that they don’t. Critics of Facebook and Twitter say the sites are purpose built for spreading misinformation, with the reach of a story dependent on its ability to go viral something that often depends on sensationalism and emotional reactions more than truth itself.[7]

Not only television or social media even through the radio broadcasting the comments or opinions of radio jockey or their guest influence the people. As radio is an effective medium from past years to inform, educate, or to entertain it’s listeners reaching the farthest corners in world. Those who don’t use cell phones, social media, watch television or have lack of any source to get the information, news depends on this medium.

Governments and powerful individuals have used information as a weapon for millennia, to boost their support and quash dissidence.[8]

 If we take a view of Indian history between year 1965-90 we find radio broadcasting and mass media industries were highly misused under the monopoly of government, these industries share information, image or any content under the power of dominant classes that helps to establish the rule and monopoly over an area. The misuse of the radio broadcasting reached its peak during Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s regime as Prime Minister. Its credibility reached its lowest ebb during emergency time in 1975. In her address to the AIR station directors on September 9, 1975, Indira Gandhi said “while anybody is in the government service, they are bound to obey the orders of the government. If they feel that the government policy is not right, they are unable to obey, they have some other way of resigning and joining any organization where they will have that freedom.” Credibility of radio took backseat, as AIR became a propaganda tool, for the Prime Minister and her policies and critics used to say All India Radio as All Indira Radio but proved counter-productive during the elections as it further precipitated the existing demand for autonomy for the Government-run media.[9]

SUGGESTION: HOW TO TACKLE THIS ISSUE

Satyam rushes to work with his cell phone in one hand and sandwich in the other. Scrolling through his social media feed, he’s stopped in his tracks by the news that one of the popular political leader of his state arrested by the police on corruption charges. He quickly posts a response, shares the story with his contacts, and emails it to his team so that they can discuss it later.

But then he has a troubling thought. What if the story wasn’t true? What if he just shared a ‘fake news’ story? After all, he didn’t check the source, and it was from a website he’d never heard of before.

Fortunately, there’s a lots we can do to avoid making the same mistake as Satyam. There are many view on how to prevent fake news but if we really want to do something about this issue then as a responsible person we need to work on our habits all the information which served by our social media feed is not true but often we share the news without doing any analysis on that information. As a responsible citizen of this world we need to control our habit to share anything without any knowledge of its credibility and we also need to control our excitement of giving response on every news we must first check whether the news is from credible news, read beyond headings sometimes headings of such fake news is to provoke you because generally human has a habit of prejudice (judging a book by its cover). If we apply these kinds of habit we can actually prevent fake news to influence our opinions.

INTERNATIONAL STAND & INDIAN  LAW PROVISIONS

 

            Freedom of media has always been  fostered in all the democratic countries. As consequently  Fake news is continuously hitting the worldwide political issues via the platform’s like social-media, WhatsApp, Twitter and other apps has become key for the political campaigns because most of people heavily consume news via these platforms.

We  have seen numerous political parties attempt to use these means to side line the crucial matters for their party interest and  ultimately it affects, to the people of that country but it’s the duty of media to show news which is true and not that news which is created just to fulfill a political propaganda.

The main aim of publishing or posting fake news is not just to generate money but it is more than that by sharing fake news a person can achieve the knowledge about public of particular country that how the public react on various issue, the people are awake or not and by sharing that news or by giving a response on that so-called news we are allowing that person to  influence our thoughts. This issue get worse in developing country like India because people in India are sentimental, emotional which sometime become their weakness they got aggressive on the issue which is not even happen and then riots, affrays take place which affect whole country, and that’s why this issue is a serious concern for government and  to stop  fake news   government of India taking various steps like_  Indian tech ministry officials met with Whatsapp executives to ask the Facebook Inc (FB.O) unit to start tracing the origins of misinformation spread through its messaging platform[10] , however in this scenario government may increase the penalisation for these platforms and Media will also try to take the defence of Article 19(1) of Indian Constitution,  but Under Constitution Of India   Article 19(2) empowers the state to make law imposing reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right of freedom of speech and expression in the interest of : sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the state, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.[11]  Government also expressed  anger on media which show these kind of informations as we already suffers with  lot of terrible accidents like mob lynching one of dreadful incident happened, affrays, riots in many areas of the country for example – agitation on SC/ST ACT as this act was passed by the Supreme Court Of India but political parties spread rumors  that it was slickness of central government against these communities and this information misleads people in a desperate way. There are endless evidences of incidents like this, that happened in India and that’s why government as well as people  are worried about fake news. Even country like Malaysia took a hard stand against those people who spreading fake news in Malaysia could be sentenced to six years in jail and penalty for disseminating the fake news is maximum fine which of 500,000 ringgits ( approximately £90000) under a new law. India, the UK, and France are among other countries planning laws for misinformation.[12]

In India the provisions for penal provided under IPC as well as under IT ACT  under Indian Penal Code 1860 :[13]

Section 124A deals with whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempt to bring into hatred or contempt , or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards, the government established by law in India, shall be punished with imprisonment for life , to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine.

Section 153A deals with whoever promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth , residence, language, etc. and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

Section 153B deals with whoever by words either spoken or written or by signs or by visible representation or otherwise, makes or publishes any imputation, assertion prejudicial to national integration shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

Likewise Section 295A also deals whoever with deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by instituting it’s religion or religious beliefsby the same manner as in above sections shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years.

Section 499 deals with whoever by words, either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible representation, makes or publishes any imputation concerning any person intending to harm shall be punished under Section 500 simple imprisonment which may extend to two years.

Section 505 deals with whoever makes, publishes or circulates any statement, rumors or report with intention to conducing public mischief, promoting enmity, hatred, or ill will between classes or committed in any place of worship, etc. shall be punished with imprisonment for three years which may extend to five years.

Under the Section 67 of IT ACT, spreading of fake news which is lascivious is punishable with a term which may extend to five years and with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees and in the event of a subsequent conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two lakh rupees.[14]

Elsewhere, the UK has planned a fake news which will unite people from creating misinformation. In France, Emmanuel Macron is also preparing a fake news team to tackle the spread of informations around the country. Germany’s hate speech law, while not specifically covering fake news, has also been criticised for it’s implementation.[15]

 

Conclusion

Traditionally we got our news from trusted sources, journalists and media outlets that are required to follow strict codes of practice. However, the internet has enabled a whole new way to publish, share and consume information and news with very little regulation or editorial standards. Many people now get news from social media sites and networks like_ Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and so on.., often it can be difficult to tell whether stories are credible or not.

                                                In today’s digital era, misinformation spreads to millions with the click of a “share” button such misinformation especially when related to politics likely to gain more attention than news on any other subject.[16]

 


[1] https://www.brainyquote.com/author/pawan-kalyan visited on 22nd March at 9:00pm

[2] https://dictionary.cambridge.org  last visited on  March 24, 2019

[3] https://journals.ala.org/index.php/ltr/article/view/6497/8636 last visited on March 24, 2019

[4] ibid

[5] ibid

[6] Media Law by Dr. Sukanta K. Nanda

[7] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/0/fake-news-exactly-has-really-had-influence/  last visited on March 24, 2019

[8] ibid

[9] Media law by Dr. S.R. Myneni

[10] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-whatsapp-government/india-government-meets-with-whatsapp-over-tracing-of-fake-news-source-idUSKBN1O60GO last visited on March 27, 2019

[11] Constitution of India by J.N. Pandey

[12] www.weird.co.uk last visited on March 27, 2019

[13] Universal

[14] www.gizmotimes.com last visited on March 27, 2019

[15] www.wierd.co.uk last visited on March 27, 2019

[16]  Media law by Dr. S.R. Myneni

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