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Notion of ‘nationalism’ behind rampant fake news in India, says BBC study

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Fake News

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]A BBC study on how disinformation and fake news found an overlap of fake news sources on Twitter and support networks of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Facts were less important to some than the emotional desire to bolster national identity, the research found.

“A rising tide of nationalism in India is driving ordinary citizens to spread fake news,” the study said.

This explains the puzzling sense of pride one finds in people propagating disinformation in posts on WhasApp and social media pushing Hindutva as nationalism, denigrating minorities and Scheduled Castes.

The research, commissioned by the BBC World Service and published today (Monday, November 12), forms part of “Beyond Fake News” – a series across TV, radio and digital that aims to investigate how disinformation and fake news are affecting people around the world.

Moreover, this disinformation and fake news dominance is owing to the fact that right-wing networks are much more organised than on the left, pushing nationalistic fake stories further, the BBC social media analysis suggests.

Significantly, the research found an overlap of fake news sources on Twitter and support networks of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A website dedicated to busting fake news, AltNrews, in fact, found BJP IT cell and other right wing groups involved in spreading fake news repeatedly and regularly.

BBC said the findings come from extensive research in India, Kenya, and Nigeria into the way ordinary citizens engage with and spread fake news.

Participants gave the BBC extensive access to their phones over a seven-day period, allowing the researchers to examine the kinds of material they shared, whom they shared it with and how often.

“In all three countries, distrust of mainstream news outlets pushed people to spread information from alternative sources, without attempting to verify it, in the belief that they were helping to spread the real story,” the BBC study found.

At the same time, it found, people were also overly confident in their ability to spot fake news.

The sheer flood of digital information being spread in 2018 is worsening the problem. Participants in the BBC research made little attempt to query the original source of fake news messages, looking instead to alternative signs that the information was reliable.

These included the number of comments on a Facebook post, the kinds of images on the posts, or the sender, with people assuming WhatsApp messages from family and friends could be trusted and sent on without checking.

Widespread sharing of false rumours on WhatsApp has led to a wave of violence in India, with people forwarding on fake messages about child abductors to friends and family out of a sense of duty to protect loved ones and communities, the study noted.

According to a separate BBC analysis, at least 32 people have been killed in the past year in incidents involving rumours spread on social media or messaging apps.

Researchers also conducted extensive analysis of how fake news spreads on Twitter and Facebook in India, to understand whether the spread of fake news was politically polarised.

The results showed a strong and coherent promotion of right-wing messages, while left-wing fake news networks were loosely organised, if at all, and less effective.

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“This is the first known research project in these countries that uses these methods to understand the fake news phenomenon at the level of ordinary citizens,” the BBC said.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Bharat Jodo Yatra: Rahul Gandhi’s security cordon simply vanished, says Omar Abdullah; J&K police claim didn’t know of such large gathering

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Omar Abdullah joined Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Yatra from Banihal in Kashmir on Friday

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Friday alleged that he’s witness that outer ring of the cordon maintained by the Jammu and Kashmir police “simply vanished” minutes after Rahul Gandhi marched into Kashmir with his Bharat Jodo Yatra via Banihal earlier today.

The former J&K chief minister wrote in a tweet he was looking forward to the 11-kilometre trek but unfortunately it had to be cancelled.

The yatra was stopped earlier today near Qazigund, the gateway to Kashmir valley, due to an alleged breach of security and mismanagement of crowd by the erstwhile state’s administration.

Congress leaders alleged that Rahul Gandhi after crossing Qazigund, started his march towards south Kashmir’s Vessu, but the party workers noticed that the outer cordon maintained by the Jammu and Kashmir police, was lifted all of a sudden.

However, the J&K Police has refuted the allegations of a security lapse. In a series of tweets, the police claimed that organizers of the march had not told them that such a large gathering would be joining them from Banihal and full security arrangements were in place and deployments were done as per SOPs.

The police added that they were not consulted by organizers before halting the yatra, stressing that rest of the march went peacefully and maintained that foolproof security will be provided when the trek resumes.

Earlier, the Congress temporarily called off the yatra, accusing the local police and administration of crowd mismanagement and security lapse.

A senior Congress leader alleged that there was crowd mismanagement along the yatra route approved by the security apparatus.

Rahul Gandhi, who has planned to conclude his marathon Bharat Jodo Yatra with a grand rally in Srinagar on January 30 said that it was the responsibility of the Jammu and Kashmir administration to provide them security while hoping that rest of the yatra is provide with adequate security.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said that the party is holding discussions with the Jammu and Kashmir administration to ensure no further security lapses occur for the remainder of the march.

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Tripura Election 2023: CPI(M) announces candidates for 43 seats, Congress will contest on 13

The 2023 Tripura Legislative Assembly election is scheduled to be held in Tripura on February 16, 2023 to elect all 60 members of the Tripura Legislative Assembly.

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Tripura Election 2023

Tripura’s main opposition CPI(M) has declared candidates for 43 seats and kept 13 seats reserved for the Congress. Addressing a press conference, Left Front convenor Narayan said that their main objective is to oust the BJP from power. He added that they came under one banner only to oust the BJP and drive the party out of the state.

“We appeal to all anti-BJP secular and democratic forces to come together to oust the saffron party,” said Narayan. He even added that this time the party has introduced 24 more new faces, who will be contesting for the first time in this election. However, this time many veteran leaders from CPI(M) like former Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, former Finance Minister Bhanu Lal Saha, Shahid Choudhary, Badal Choudhary, Jashbir Tripura, Tapan Chakraborty and Mabasar Ali have got relief.

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For the Tripura Elections 2023, out of these 60 seats, CPI(M) will contest on 43 seats, Congress on 13, CPI on 1, RSP on 1 seat and Forward Bloc on 1 while an independent candidate will contest on 1 seat. Six sitting candidates will contest in this election, while the CPI(M) state committee secretary will contest from Sabroom assembly constituency.

Kausik Chanda will now contest from Dhanpur assembly constituency, which was the home constituency of former chief minister Manik Sarkar.

For the unversed, the 2023 Tripura Legislative Assembly election is scheduled to be held in Tripura on February 16, 2023 to elect all 60 members of the Tripura Legislative Assembly. The tenure of Tripura Legislative Assembly is scheduled to end on 22 March 2023. The previous state election was held in February 2018 and BJP, Biplab Kumar Deb was was sworn in as the new CM, while the saffron party had formed its government in Tripura.  

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Rahul Gandhi’s march not for personal image: Omar Abdullah joins Bharat Jodo Yatra

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah, Friday, joined Rahul Gandhi as the Congress MP’s Bharat Jodo Yatra made its way into Kashmir via Banihal.

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Omar Abdullah joins Bharat Jodo Yatra

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah, Friday, joined Rahul Gandhi as the Congress MP’s Bharat Jodo Yatra made its way into Kashmir via Banihal.

Speaking on the occasion, Abdullah pointed out that the marathon march was not a PR stunt to give Rahul Gandhi’s image a makeover but an honest effort to change the situation and atmosphere across the country.

The National Conference leader, however, declined to make a comment on the Congress stand on the reinstating of the erstwhile state’s special status, adding that he joined the march not for any individual’s image but for the image of the entire country.

Omar Abdullah maintained that Rahul Gandhi had no personal reasons behind the yatra but to counter the hatred and efforts to stir communal tensions and target minorities in the country.

Taking a jibe at the Narendra Modi-led regime’s efforts to strengthen ties with Arab Muslim nations, Abdullah said that the BJP government might be making friends with Arab nations but there’s none is currently representing India’s largest minority in the nation’s parliament.

Abdullah rued the fact that this might be the first instance wherein ruling party doesn’t have a single member of parliament in Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha from the Muslim community.

On Congress stand on the abrogation of Article 370, Abdullah said that they will fight the revocation in court and felt that theirs is a very strong case.

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On Monday, Rahul Gandhi said that the demand for statehood is Jammu and Kashmir’s biggest issue and party will use its “full power” to see that its reinstated.

Gandhi, who was speaking to a gathering assembled at Jammu’s Satwari Chowk during the last leg of his Bharat Jodo Yatra, noted that Jammu and Kashmir has the highest level of unemployment in India and stressed that statehood for the erstwhile state was the biggest issue.

The Bharat Jodo Yatra started from Kanyakumari on September 7, entered Jammu and Kashmir from Punjab on Thursday and reached Jammu city on Monday.

The marathon march is scheduled to make halts at Ramban and Banihal along the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway before it culminates with a planned grand rally at Srinagar’s  Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium on January 30.

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