Centre for Internet & Society

The Indian media and digital sphere, perhaps a crude reflection of the socio-economic realities of the Indian political landscape, presents a unique and challenging setting for studying information disorders.

In the last few years, ‘fake news’ has garnered interest across the political spectrum, as affiliates of both the ruling party and its opposition have seemingly partaken in its proliferation. The COVID-19 pandemic added to this phenomenon, allowing for xenophobic, communal narratives, and false information about health-protective behaviour to flourish, all with potentially deadly effects. This report maps and analyses the government’s regulatory approach to information disorders in India and makes suggestions for how to respond to the issue.

In this study, we gathered information by scouring general search engines, legal databases, and crime statistics databases to cull out data on a) regulations, notifications, ordinances, judgments, tender documents, and any other legal and quasi-legal materials that have attempted to regulate ‘fake news’ in any format; and b) news reports and accounts of arrests made for allegedly spreading ‘fake news’. Analysing this data allows us to determine the flaws and scope for misuse in the existing system. It also gives us a sense of the challenges associated with regulating this increasingly complicated issue while trying to avoid the pitfalls of the present system.

Click to download the full report here.

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