Fake news is more dangerous than paid news as it attacks the social fabric of a country, said Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister of Information & Broadcasting, and Environment, Forests and Climate Change in a conversation with Prabhu Chawla, Editorial Director, The New Indian Express, on TNIE’s Expressions, a series of live web casts with people who matter.
On China, Prime Minister had said in the meeting with the Opposition that there was no Chinese presence. The TV channels that you support today said China has retracted. Which one is the fact?
What the PM said was true. They advanced within their side and have now retracted. The PTI interview which quoted Indian Ambassador which created the controversy was not in the original interview.
Everybody is now discussing the subject of fake news...What is the reality?
I think fake news is more dangerous than paid news. Paid news is also dangerous but has a limited objective of propagating one cause or person. But fake news disturbs society. It spreads lies. It has all the potential to damage the social fabric. Any one news creates a negative impression of India which world agencies pick up.
Your supporters have also been accused of spreading fake news.
Fake news should come to an end. Who is creating is irrelevant. It is wrong and harmful for the society.
It is important to delve in to who is creating it.
Social media is regulated by IT Act, and the Act has limited provisions. Therefore, we are also thinking to have some effective measures where you take important steps to stop the menace.
Will the Act be amended?
I am not saying there is a need for amendment because I have not studied the IT Act. But there is a need to look in to the issue afresh... There is no arrangement at present who will look after content. Fake news is an issue of content.
Don’t you think fake news is more of a political weapon to destroy each other?
Those who have been rejected by people in voting are venting their anger and desperation to create fake news.
But Congress says you have control over media.
No. There is complete press freedom. Only, control was during the Emergency.
They are saying you are using media to silence them.
If one continues to lie, one cannot win. People are guided by facts. Rahul Gandhi thinks he is doing a great job. But not a single Opposition party is with the Congress today. Congress is in isolation ward.
There are accusations that journalists who write against the government are being harassed, there are FIRs lodged against them.
No. The judiciary is doing its own work. The government has never had vindictive policies. If you see the cases, they are different.
Are you justifying the FIRs lodged against journalists who opposed you?
No. There are many scribes who criticise the government; no FIRs are filed against them. It is done as per the law.
When someone talks about your party, they are declared as anti-national. BJP members used similar words before 2014...
No, the objective is different. The objective is to spread lies.
There are accusations that Doordarshan is misused, media is presurised, advertisements are stopped against those who are critical of the government and Directorate of Advertising & Visual Publicity (DAVP) dues remain pending.
This has never happened under my helm. DAVP is a different issue...But in the last few months we have repaid 80 per cent of the bill.