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Karnataka gets tough against fake news, moral policing

Lakshmana Venkat Kuchi The new Karnataka government has got down to business and has declared it will be coming hard on anyone trying to disrupt communal harmony and peace through spreading hate via fake news. Police headquarters in Bangalore and every commiserate in the state will have a fact check team in place to monitor, […]

Edited By : Lakshmana | Updated: Jun 21, 2023 19:51 IST
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Karnataka
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Lakshmana Venkat Kuchi

The new Karnataka government has got down to business and has declared it will be coming hard on anyone trying to disrupt communal harmony and peace through spreading hate via fake news.

Police headquarters in Bangalore and every commiserate in the state will have a fact check team in place to monitor, track and curb fake news at its inception.

Chief Minister S Siddaramaiah on Tuesday directed police officials revive fact check teams and carry out an awareness drive among the people about fake news. Drilling home the importance he attached to busting fake news, the CM directed the police to come out with a monthly report of the fake news and action taken on the same, indicating that he would be personally monitoring the situation.

The fact check teams are in addition to the special cell to check moral policing, especially in Mangaluru where the instances of this menace was reported on many occasions in the past.

But on Tuesday, the Chief Minister held a review meeting over the law-and-order situation in the state with Home Minister D Parameshwara, following which he directed the officials to act strictly against people who triggered violence and disturbed peace, and spread panic through fake news.

Incidentally, the new move on fact check team and pointed directive to the police on fake news comes a day after state Information Technology minister Priyank Kharge filed a police complaint against BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya and others for spreading fake news.

In a statement issued after the meeting, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said, “In 2013, when Congress came to power, fake news was spread. This time also the political opponents have adopted the same strategy. Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, some people are trying to create unrest in the state by spreading fake news. So, such fake news spreaders must be identified and strict action must be taken against them.”

Back then, after 2013, fakes news of child thieves and beef transporters was being spread to create tension in the state, the CM noted and issued a strict warning that such activities must be nipped in the bud.

“To save the Constitution, the 2014 Lok Sabha elections are crucial. When we are preparing for it, fake news spreaders might try to start clashes and riots and to stop it strict action must be taken against the accused,” the CM’s statement read.

In a related development, state home minister Parameshawara, announced the formation of a special squad to check moral policing at Mangaluru, the district headquarters of Dakshina Kannada. The objective is to maintain communal harmony, the minister said.

“In Dakshina Kannada, particularly in Mangaluru, a lot of so-called moral policing is happening. People are fed-up with it. Some people are trying to create this in a big way. So we want to stop this moral policing at once and take whatever necessary steps, so that this is not repeated,” Parameshwara said. Maintaining communal harmony was of utmost importance, he said, and added, “We have taken a decision to constitute a force within the police force to look into these affairs. There will be a special squad to look into these affairs. They will handle these cases; focus is on moral policing,” he said.

First published on: Jun 21, 2023 07:51 PM IST

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