Indian Democracy, False News, and Dis/misinformation

By: Mohammed Firoz Aqueen   Seema Sangra  

Disruptive technology has rocked contemporary journalism. Public trust in news media is declining with the spread of false news and misinformation. A report by the Oxford Internet Institute stresses that the manipulation of public opinion over social media is critical and misinformation spread by the agencies and political parties are undermining trust in media. Journalism is the fourth pillar of democracy. And journalism with its truthfulness and objectivity as core values is vital for a thriving democracy. Thus, it is imperative to delve deeper into the problem of false news and misinformation to understand the underlying dynamics and look for possible solutions. Indian democracy is facing one of the worst crises in its political history as voters are being targeted with false news with manipulated data, images, views, and opinions through social networking sites. This paper focuses on what motivates social media users to share misinformation and how such endorsements spread through and across social media platforms. This paper also answers two critical questions: can a civil society in India afford to let its democracy be hacked? If not then, what will be the collective responsibilities of the people to mitigate such threats? The study uses mixed research methods including secondary data and the primary data collected through a survey along with interviews of working professional journalists, academicians, policy-makers, activists, politicians from major political parties, and senior citizens.

Democracy, Journalism, Fake news, Misinformation, Disinformation, Crisis, Resilience
Media Literacies
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Dr. Mohammed Firoz Aqueen

Ms. Seema Sangra

Assistant Professor, Amity University