By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2023-03-10 11:22:34
In this age of WhatsApp and Facebook 'university' graduates and influencers and 'experts', fake and doctored news has become commonplace. Such news is increasingly becoming agenda-based and is being used by various people to disturb peace and cause disharmony. Hence, it is necessary that fact-checkers are allowed to do their work with diligence and live peacefully. Theirs is a thankless job but one which is extremely important as it prevents strife.
But given the power those who spread such fake news wield or the protection they receive from the administration, in India fact-checkers are a vulnerable species. After Alt News (India's premier fact-checking organization) had exposed the videos that showed Bihari migrants being beaten in Tamil Nadu as fake, Alt News co-founder Zubair has been severely trolled and has received threats to his limb and life. It is distressing that the fake news was carried as genuine by supposedly respected print and digital media organizations.
Why is Zubair being targeted? What is his fault? Would it have been better if the fake video had been allowed to scare the migrant workers into not returning to Tamil Nadu, which in any case was the agenda of the mischief mongers who made it and spread it? Zubair's team has done a signal service by nailing the videos as fake and it is their work that has helped in the situation not going out of hand. Instead of receiving praise for it, he is being threatened.
The government must not allow those who started this to get away. They must be traced and punished. Also, Zubair must be provided protection. It should be no one's case that anti-nationals can upload almost anything on social media to cause strife and escape punishment and those who expose them suffer. Fact-checkers are doing important work and it should be recognized as such. But agenda-based politics treats them as adversaries as they expose its proponents. This should not be the case.