Fake News and its Implications

Editor,

Fake news also termed as ‘hoax news’ is something which is not unfamiliar in social media and people are not really aware what constitutes fake news or the real gospel truth news. Given the advancement of technology where some, if not most people, emphasize on social media as a source of free press rather than print media, the trend for spreading fake news had just increased. There being no regulations on social media and after Section 66A of the Information Technology Act 2000 became redundant; social media is now a platform that is free to raise any voice/concern.

The fact that in today’s society most of the youth depend on social media as an alternative news rather than the real print news, shows how people can easily be influenced as they want to believe whatever is in their newsfeed (social media platform). One of the main reasons of how fake news spreads is because of its consumer base. It is the consumer that drives the fake news especially on social media. It is the consumers who keep on sharing/ spreading such news, with the thought of doing a good deed. The consumer gets something to boast about among his friends, family and peers being the first one to spread such news only to realize such news is fake . The content of fake news is also very remarkable. Fake news always target at topics which would make people very gullible and want to accept such false facts.

The incident which occurred on the eve of June 2018, at Mothphran and the adjoining areas which resembled a battlefield, has left many residents sleepless. WhatsApp Forwards, Bright Facebook picture statuses with false propaganda were circulated all over social media with no source confirming legitimacy. Sparks of fear and outrage emerged as such false news spreads like wild fire around the sleepless town. Communal tensions over social media were on the rise, even though most was based on wrong information of what exactly happened at the incident. People were ready to accept any information received from such non-credible sources and spreading such false propaganda.

One needs to realize the legal implications involved when one spreads such propaganda. Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code makes people liable if they are involved in attacks on religion, race, and place of birth of a certain group of class or upon the founders or prophets of the religion.

If such fake news entails such ingredients, the publisher will be held liable and even person with the intention of spreading such news would come under Section 34(Common Intention) of the Indian Penal Code.  If provision of 153 of the IPC is looked into, then the provision of 295 should also be read, to check on whether such speech/ publications leads or has the ingredients of a hate speech.

Hence, one needs to be wary before spreading such WhatsApp Forwards, Messages which are not based on credible sources especially in situations that could lead to incidences of communal chaos and havoc.

Yours etc.,

Rayner Dkhar,

Via email

Unite against multiple taxation on Oil & Coal

Editor,

While the crude oil prices world over has gone down it is a crude and rude joke rather a sordid drama to declare 1 paisa reduction of petrol/diesel prices by Government of India. Continued hike of domestic petrol and diesel prices till the day of such declaration   has already had an astronomical effect in the price index of all essential commodities and in a predominantly prevailing “Seller’s Market” the buyers in the country with their gradually shrinking/limited purchase capacity will get lost. Therefore the policy of imposition of multiple/various taxes on fuels – liquid or solid by the Centre and the states is unethical.

It is inexplicable as to how in addition to Royalty & Cess on coal being levied by the Government of West-Bengal, the Centre is also imposing 5% GST now. This is allowing a free-hand to private players in the power-generating sector to increase power tariff for domestic consumers almost every year in Kolkata and West-Bengal. Why there shall continue a differential system/rates of tariff levy against power supplied by CESC & WBSEB for domestic  consumption – that too in the same City of Kolkata ?

The NDA Governments much hyped publicity and propaganda of “One Nation, One Tax” before imposition of GST (rates are Globally highest) is just a hollow drum-beating or a hoax to delude and mislead the countrymen?

Where has the good governance and transparency, as promised vanished?  Does the NDA government preach something and practice something else?

It is, therefore, essential for the NDA government to withdraw multiple taxations imposed on all fuels with immediate effect and exercise strict control of spiralling fuel price rises if at all they wish to win the people in the General Elections of 2019 and get another opportunity to govern the country.

Yours etc.,

Samares Bandyopadhyay,

Via email

Spiritual aspiration

Editor,

Abraham Lincoln had said, “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” It is important because our resolution is our aspiration to become a better human being for a better tomorrow. This is the driving force of evolution that has taken us from slave society to feudal society and from police states to welfare states. Our resolutions are not just confined to the New Year. As a matter of fact, we take resolutions on our birthday, on a special day or just on any other day on so many issues like we will replace negative thoughts with positive ones, intoxicants with fresh water, idle time with a pastime and so on. It is because of our aspiration to strive for the highest standards, we have been scaling new heights of Citius (swifter), Altius (higher), Fortius (stronger). It is more than Olympic motto – it is our endeavour to blossom over the years. 

Researchers have produced new DNA evidence that almost certainly confirms “Out of Africa” theory of human evolution that all of us stem from a single group of Homo Sapiens. After originating in Africa 150,000 years ago, our ancestors began spreading throughout Eurasia 60,000 years ago to seek food after experiencing a “quantum leap in thinking”. 

We dare say that 2,000 generations ago, our ancestors could not help but to move out of Africa to satisfy their aspirations that they felt so strongly about after having experienced a “quantum leap in thinking”. It had opened, as it were, a new horizon in their minds which can be described in the words of Rabindranath Tagore, ~ “Fountain awakened from its dream”. The inner voice of our ancestors might have pushed them by saying in the Biblical words, “My zeal for the Lord has eaten me up.” 

Sri Aurobindo had once said, “The spiritual aspiration is innate in man; for he is, unlike the animal, aware of imperfection and limitation and feels that there is something to be attained beyond what he now is …”  

Yours etc.,

Sujit De,

Kolkata

 

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