With just three months to go before the Lok Sabha polls, internet giant Google has announced that it would train Indian journalists who are covering the elections in how to identify and verify news, even as social media players introduce measures to check the proliferation of politically-motivated fake news on their platforms.
The global search giant will be implementing this programme through its Google News Initiative, launched globally last year, in collaboration with DataLeads and Internews.
According to the firm, the training and support programme for the 2019 polls will be held across 30 cities in the country and will kick-off with a session to be held in New Delhi on February 26. Sessions will continue through the next month in 29 other cities.
The Google News Initiative was first launched internationally and offers journalists both training and support on online verification and fact-checking online content, digital safety and security, data visualisation and YouTube for elections coverage.
Google says that the initiative is aimed at deepening the firm’s commitment to an industry facing immense disruption in how it works. the initiative focuses on elevating and strengthening the quality of journalism, evolving business models for sustainable growth in the sector and empower ing news outlets with technology.
For the upcoming Indian general elections in 2019, the programme seeks to train 10,000 journalists, freelancers and journalism students. This training will be given to participants in multiple languages including English, Hindi, Marathi, Malayalam, Bangla, Kannada, Gujarati, Odia, Tamil and Telugu.
“Since 2016, Google has trained more than 13,000 journalists in India, across over 200 newsrooms and in 40 cities,” said Irene Jay Liu, Google News Lab Lead for the Asia Pacific.
Google first brought the initiative to India in June 2018, and the firm says it has onboarded 241 trainers fluent in seven languages, and these trained around 5,000 journalists across more than 40 cities in India. Working journalists, freelancers and students can sign up for the free programme and choose the city they would prefer to attend the course in.