With rampant spread of misinformation online, leading players from media and public literacy groups in India have come together to launch a cross-industry collaboration to combat the spread of dis/misinformation. Christened the Misinformation Combat Alliance, the initiative hopes to stem misinformation through targeted interventions and activities.
Online misinformation has always been a problem to tackle and with a global pandemic stretching on for a third year, and a war in Europe, coupled with elections in 5 states, misinformation has seen a major spike in the Indian digital space.
Highlighting the need for such an initiative, Bharat Gupta, President said, “It’s not just politics and current affairs. We also witness misinformation around health, finance, government schemes, consumer products and even entertainment. This has a profound impact, at both an individual and institutional level. Keeping this in mind, we have formed the Misinformation Combat Alliance.”
The MCA has been in the making for quite a while and has seen extensive deliberations and discussions over 2021 over the nature, form, aim and activities of the alliance. The organisations that are involved in the project are Factly, Fact Crescendo, Newschecker, People Like Us Create (PLUC), Tattle, The Healthy Indian Project (THIP), Youth Ki Awaaz, Yuvaa and Vishvas News.
Maintaining that the war against misinformation has to be a collective one, Rajneil Rajnath Kamath, Vice President of the MCA said, “Membership to the Misinformation Combat Alliance is open to all. The war against misinformation has to be a collective one, and this is where we come in. We are planning initiatives around media literacy, technology and advocacy, and you will see more action through 2022 and beyond.”
“With the Industry alliance in place we expect to change the dynamics of the way misinformation is perceived. With the widespread use of digital mediums, mis/disinformation is spreading much faster and can have a detrimental effect if not kept in check. MCA is a joint force of pioneering members from across the industry that will work as a catalyst towards boosting the fight against Misinformation & creating awareness amongst the population, so they are better equipped to combat growing Misinformation,” Rahul Namboori, Founding Member.
With a focus on media literacy, technology interventions, advocacy, community and policy, the Misinformation Combat Alliance aims to change the pattern of social media consumption, making users pause, think and ask questions before sharing any information online.
“The coming together of the alliance helps bring a sharper focus to the silent epidemic of misinformation. We’ve seen the impact of misinformation not just on the harmony of our nation but also on access to health, especially during the pandemic. We’re hopeful that with more members joining, we will be able to systemically put the spread of misinformation to an end,” Anshul Tewari, Founding Member.
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