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Fake News Contagion Goes Viral

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Fake News Contagion Goes Viral

Fake news stories seem to be as equally contagious as COVID-19, with the latest piece of misinformation revolving around the news of the death of a pregnant elephant in Palakkad, which caused mainstream and social media outrage. The first misinformation was about the place of the incident, which was initially reported to be Malappuram and then clarified by the Kerala Government as Palakkad.

This then took on a communal tone, with fake news regarding the accused going viral on a tweet initially posted by Amar Prasad Reddy, a media advisor to the Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare. In the tweet, he stated that two individuals Amzath Ali and Thamim Shaikh, were responsible for the death of the pachyderm and had been arrested for the same. The tweet was later taken down, and a clarification was tweeted in its place.

Many mainstream media houses had posted articles and tweets featuring the misinformation from the tweet. The news was confirmed to be fake after Alt News contacted Palakkad Superintendent of Police G Siva Vikram, who later clarified that the name of the accused was P. Wilson and that he had been arrested. The correct information was then released on mainstream and social media, clearing confusion.

When leading newspapers are facing significant budget cuts due to a lack of funds from advertising, it is tough to distinguish accurate information from fake news or clarify it from trusted media sources. With social media and instant messaging applications paving the way for several miscreants to sensationalize misinformation and spread indefinitely, the past few months have brought about a consequential collection of fake news stories.

When did it all begin?

According to a global study conducted in March 2020 named, ‘Problems with Finding Coronavirus News Worldwide 2020’ on Statista, around 74 per cent of news consumers were worried about finding fake news and false information about the pandemic on the news.

The spread of misinformation about the virus began well ahead of the first nationwide lockdown, which was imposed for 21 days starting from March 24, 2020. It began with the spread of fake coronavirus remedies on WhatsApp, which ranged from simple ones like garlic and ginger to ones like alcohol that proved life-threatening in countries like Iran. It is alleged that over 700 people died due to alcohol poisoning because of false forward messages advertising it as a remedy.

A few World leaders ended up propagating fake news with the US President Donald Trump vouching for hydroxychloroquine before any tests proved its effectiveness, and the Tanzanian President Pombe Magufuli claimed that lemon and ginger water could cure the virus.

In India, several political leaders made similar claims. Ashwini Kumar Choubey, a member of the BJP and the Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, claimed that Vitamin D was a cure for the virus and advised that sitting for 15 minutes under the sun, which was hottest during 11-2 pm would boost immunity and ‘kill viruses like the coronavirus.’

Other politicians on the list include BJP MLA from Assam, Suman Hari Priya, who spoke about a potion made of cow urine and excreta being a cure, and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath saying the cause of the virus was stress.

Migrant Crisis and Rise of Arrests due to Fake News in April

In the last week of March, this fake news epidemic reached it’s tipping point when, amidst the nation’s first lockdown, over 40 per cent of its population, consisting of migrant workers from remote parts of the country began to panic and walked hundreds of kilometers to catch buses back to their respective states. Mostly hailing from Uttar Pradesh, these migrant workers had to fight for space on the buses back home, causing havoc and paving the way to one of the biggest migrant crises India has seen.

The Supreme Court of India and the Press Council largely attributed the rise of this crisis to the panic caused by the increasing amount of fake news in mainstream coverage, which had claimed a three-month lockdown, when the first one was only meant for 21 days. The Press Council advised mainstream media houses to “responsibly ensure dissemination of verified news on coronavirus outbreak, based on the daily bulletin by the Government following the Supreme Court’s directive on the issue.”

Arrest of people:

Dissemination of fake news also caused a spike in the number of arrests when police officers began to arrest people for sharing false information instead of tackling the source of the problem. According to an AFP report in mid-April, over 100 arrests had taken place due to misinformation regarding the coronavirus issue. The cases were being registered under the Indian Penal Code, and the Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897 since a specific law for fake news is absent.

Government’s Response and Need for legal measures

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the Indian Media on March 7, asking people not to fall victim to the fake news regarding natural remedies for the virus. The Government then launched the ‘MyGovCoronaHelpDesk,’ a WhatsApp Chatbot, to answer urgent queries regarding the virus and lockdown and to prevent the spread of misinformation.

Followed by the measure, it also issued an advisory to major digital platforms, asking them to take responsibility for the misinformation on its feeds.

In May, the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) published a step-by-step guide for law enforcement agencies to curb the spread of fake news to incite communal riots and feelings of panic among the public. The manual contained instructions on how to identify fake news using measures like Google reverse image search and lists fact-checking websites to verify sources.

However, despite several measures implemented by the Government, fake news seems to continue its rampage, be it fake forwards via WhatsApp or fraudulent posts, images, and videos on other social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

The absence of a specific law to address this issue is also not helping. So far, legal measures being used to tackle misinformation and fake news during the lockdown include the IPC (Section 501-A), the IT Act (Sec 66D), and the Disaster Management Act, 2005 (Sec 54).

The dissemination of fake news and misinformation during a pandemic has made it evident that there is a need for specific legal measures to tackle these issues.

Are Social Media Firms doing enough?

According to the latest BBC news report on June 4, 2020, the answer is a resounding NO. The report states that over 90 per cent of posts with false information regarding COVID-19 continue to remain online, with social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter accounting for over 600 such posts.

Despite both firms claiming that they had put up measures and introduced guidelines to deal with fake news posts effectively, the research report put forth by the Center for Countering Digital Hate proves otherwise.

“Social media giants have claimed many times that they are taking COVID-related misinformation seriously, but this new research shows that even when they are handed the posts promoting misinformation, they fail to take action,” said Imran Ahmed, Chief Executive of the Center for Countering Digital Hate to BBC News.

A freelance writer and journalist-in-the-making who is currently pursuing her Master's in Communication and Media Studies

Hindi

जम्मू-कश्मीर में गैर-कश्मीरी नागरिकों पर आतंकियों का बढता अत्याचार!

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Kashmir | News Aur Chai
जम्मू-कश्मीर में बीते कुछ दिनों से गैर-कश्मीरी नागरीकों पर आतंकी हमलों के मामले सामने आ रहे हैं।

जम्मू-कश्मीर में बीते कुछ दिनों से गैर-कश्मीरी नागरीकों पर आतंकी हमलों के मामले सामने आ रहे हैं। खासतौर से गैर-कश्मीरी मजदूरों को निशाना बनाया जा रहा है। जम्मू-कश्मीर में आतंकियों द्वारा अब तक नौ नागरीकों की हत्या कर दी गई है। 5 अक्टूबर को श्रीनगर में आतंकियो ने वीरेंद्र पासवान की गोली मारकर हत्या कर दी थी। वीरेंद्र पासवान बिहार का रहनेवाला था और पिछले दो वर्षों से श्रीनगर में गोलगप्पे बेचता था। आतंकियों ने 6 अक्टूबर को फार्मेसी मालिक एम.एल बिंदू, स्ट्रीट वेंडर और एक टैक्सी ड्राइवर की हत्या कर दी थी। श्रीनगर के ईदगाह इलाके में आतंकियों ने स्कूल की मुख्य अध्यापिका सुपिंदर कौर और अध्यापक दीपक शर्मा की गोली मारकर हत्या कर दी।

16 अक्टूबर को अरविंद कुमार साह पर आतंकियों द्वारा गोली चलाई गई, उन्हें गंभीर स्थिति में श्रीनगर के SMHS अस्पताल ले जाया गया जहाँ डॉक्टरों ने उन्हें मृत घोषित कर दिया। अरविंद कुमार बिहार के बांका जिले में रहनेवाले थे और श्रीनगर में गोलगप्पे बेचते थे। 16 अक्टूबर की ही शाम को आतंकियों ने पुलवामा में सगीर अहमद नाम के व्यक्ति की गोली मारकर हत्या कर दी। सगीर अहमद उत्तरप्रदेश का रहनेवाला था एवं पेशे से वह एक कार्पेंटर था। 17 अक्टूबर, रविवार को आतंकियों ने दक्षिण कश्मीर के कुलगाम में के तीन मजदूरों को गोली मार दी, जिससे दो मजदूरों की मृत्यु हो गई और एक मजदूर बुरी तरह से घायल हो गया।

कश्मीर के अलग अलग हिस्सों में अनेकों प्रवासी बसे हुए हैं। अधिकतर लोग रोजगार की तलाश में बिहार से कश्मीर आए हुए हैं। लोगों का कहना है कि वे अगले महीने तक अपने घर बिहार जाना चाहते थे मगर दहशतगर्दों के कारण उन्हें काम छोड़कर बीच में ही जाना पढ़ रहा है। लोग डरे हुए हैं कि यदि स्थिति जल्द से जल्द सामान्य नहीं हुई तो उनका रोजगार और बच्चों की पढ़ाई छुट जाएगी।

27 वर्षों से कश्मीर में रह रहे 45 वर्षीय पंकज पासवान का कहना है कि उन्होंने इतने वर्षों में कश्मीर की इससे भी बदतर हालत देखी है। उनका कहना है कि एक के बाद एक हो रही हत्याओं से कश्मीर में दहशत का माहौल बना हुआ है और वे भी इस समय बिहार लौट जाना चाहते हैं। आतंकियों द्वारा निशाना बनाए गए नागरिकों का कहना है कि अनुच्छेद-370 के हटने से और कश्मीर के विकास से आतंकी बौखलाए हुए हैं। इसी वजह से वो लोगों पर हमला कर रहे हैं। नागरिकों का कहना है कि रविवार को हुए आतंकी हमले से पहले उन्हें उम्मीद थी कि हालात सुधर जाएंगे मगर लगातार हो रही हत्याओं से उन्हें भी जान का खतरा बना हुआ है।

पीडीपी अध्यक्षा महबूबा मुफ्ती का कहना है कि, यह घटना निंदनीय है। भोले भाले लोगों को बेवजह मरना और उनका रोज़गार छीनना बेहद दुःख की बात है।

बीजेपी के प्रवक्ता अल्ताफ ठाकुर ने कहा कि यह शत प्रतिशत नरसंहार है, गैर-कश्मीरियों की यह भीषण हत्या बिल्कुल अमानवीय है और यह आतंकियों की बौखलाहट को दर्शाता है।

सीपीआई के नेता मोहम्मद युसूफ तारिगामी का कहना है कि भोले भाले मजदूरों की हत्या एक जघन्य अपराध है, सिर्फ निंदा करना काफी नहीं है, ऐसे समय में सभी को एकजुट होकर इस तरह के अपराध के खिलाफ आवाज उठानी चाहिए और आतंकियों को कड़ी सजा देनी चाहिए।

जम्मू कश्मीर की लेफ्टनेंट गवर्न मनोज सिन्हा ने कहा है की निर्दोषों के खून का बदला इन आतंकियों से लिया जायेगा, कश्मीर की शांति को भंग करने कि कोशिश की जा रही है, लोगों को आगे बढ़ने से रोका जा रहा है, कश्मीर के विकास को रोकने की साजिश हो रही है मगर हम ऐसा नहीं होने देंगे। मनोज सिन्हा ने अपने रेडियो कार्यक्रम ‘आवाम की आवाज’ में कहा “आतंकी हमले में मारे गए के लिए मैं शोक व्यक्त करता हूं, हम सभी लोग आपके साथ हैं और आतंकियों से हार एक हत्या का पूरा बदला लिया जायेगा यह मेरा वादा है”।

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India

Ram Mandir Opening For “Darshan” In 2023

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Ram Mandir Opening 2023 | News Aur Chai

The Ram Mandir in Ayodhya is expected to allow visitors by December 2023, with the completion of construction only in 2025.

Sources in the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra have revealed that the colossal project of building the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, will be opening for devotees towards the end of 2023. In contrast, the project’s entire construction completion is expected towards the end of 2025. The sanctum sanctorum (Garbha Griha), along with the mandir’s first floor, will be ready by December 2023. Devotees will be allowed to visit the long-awaited mandir soon after the construction is completed.

An ANI report said, “The grand Ram Mandir being constructed in Ayodhya will be opened for devotees from December 2023. Sources told ANI that Garbhagriha, all five mandaps and the first floor will be ready by December 2023 and the mandir will be opened for devotees”.

The sanctum sanctorum will be as high as 161 feet and built using Rajasthani marble and stones. Engineers and architects are taking all measures to ensure the longevity of this enormous project. The second stage of construction is expected to begin in December this year. Currently, the structure is at a standstill as a result of monsoons. Another reason for the delay is the coronavirus pandemic that depleted the force with which the mandir’s construction was expected to go on.

The announcement of the mandir being opened to visitors in 2023 has brought up questions about the political agenda. It is believed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) aims to use the mandir to catapult themselves into a position of advantage during the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Opening the mandir to devotees in December 2023 will give the BJP an easy 6-month gap to the general elections in 2024.

The opening of the long-awaited Ram Mandir in Ayodhya could be the factor that diverts the public, at least the Hindu’s in favour of BJP. Thus, securing them a vote bank based on religious sentiments upheld by the party in their previous tenure as the ruling party.

The Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir will be 360 feet long, 235 feet wide, and 20 feet high mandir will be completely ready by the end of 2025. The project will include amenities and structures like museums, archives, research centre, Sant Niwas, gau and Yagya shala, Etc. The main attraction is the Ram Mandir.

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Business

How SEBI’s New Margin Rule Is Affecting Retail Traders?

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SEBI Margin Rule | News Aur Chai

Securities and Exchange Board of India has introduced new margin rules for traders. Traders and Brokers are not happy with the new regulations because they will have to invest a large amount of cash in fulfilling margin requirements for trade.

SEBI had introduced the new margin rule in the year 2020 for intraday traders. It is being implemented in a phased manner. Traders were supposed to maintain 25 per cent of the peak margin in the first phase; the margin was raised by 50 per cent in the second phase. In the third phase, as per the new margin rule, intraday traders will have to pay a 100 per cent upfront margin. According to new norms, the margin requirements will be calculated four times during every trading session because the money margin must be greater than the need.

As per the new rule, brokers must collect margin from investors for any purchase or sale, and if they fail to do so, they will have to pay the penalty. Thus, brokers will not receive power of attorney. Brokers cannot use power of attorney for pledging anymore.

Those investors who want to make use of margin will have to create margin pledges separately. As per the new rule, investors will have to pay at least a 30 per cent margin upfront to avail a margin loan. Shares brought today cannot be sold tomorrow. Funds from shares sold today cannot be used for new trades on the same day.

The market experts said that there must be proper adjustments for implementing new rules, or it may create chaos, trouble and disturbance to the market participants. The CEO and founder of Zerodha broking firm, Nithin Kamath tweeted that, “the day when the new rules came into effect was the dreaded day for brokers, exchanges, intraday traders”.

Traders Are Not Happy:

Changes in rules have evoked strong reactions from traders because they will have to invest a large amount of cash in fulfilling margin requirements for trades as per new margin rules. Even the trading in futures and options will become more expensive. Traders are disappointed because they will have to pay up more money to bet in stock markets. As per new margin rules, Traders are also liable for the penalty if the rules are not followed during the trading session. If a trader wants to buy Nifty worth Rs 10 lakh, he will have to pay a 20 per cent margin of around 2 lakh. If the margin of the trader does not meet the need, he will be penalized. Traders will have to pay the minimum amount for opening the Multilateral Trading facility account, and they have to maintain a minor balance at all times.

Why Gas SEBI Introduced A New Margin Rule?

SEBI has introduced new rules to protect retail investors from purchasing difficulty. The intended goal of SEBI behind new margin rules is to bring down the difficult market situation and avoid huge fluctuation in stock markets during extreme stress. The new margin rules are likely to bring transparency to the market; it is expected to strengthen the market’s safety.

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