26 July, 2021 - Daily Current Affairs Analysis & MCQs - The Daily News Simplified from The Hindu
- Measures to control Fake news (Indian polity and governance, National security)
- Monsoon, Floods and Disaster Management (Disaster Management, Indian geography)
- Temple in Telangana gets WHS tag (Art and culture)
- National security strategy (National Security)
- Question for the Day
UPSC Current Affairs: Are law and technology a solution to fake news?| Page 7
UPSC Syllabus: GS Paper II: Governance
Sub Theme: Fake News| challenges and measures | UPSC
Issue of Fake news in India:
Fake news is news, stories or hoaxes created to deliberately misinform or deceive readers. Usually, these stories are created to either influence people’s views, push a political agenda or cause confusion and can often be a profitable business for online publishers. Fake news affects free speech and informed choices of the subjects of the country, leading to the hijacking of democracy.
Russia has been accused of manipulating the 2016 US elections through bots and fake news; it is a well-documented case of inter-national online manipulation. Russian interference in elections in the US and West Europe has been the biggest content manipulation concern in recent years. Facebook in the light of mounting criticism in the wake of Cambridge Analytica data scandal has announced that it will fight fake news and political misinformation, with new controls intended to ensure authenticity and transparency among advertisers and publishers.
Freedom House’s Freedom on the Net report
- Online manipulation and disinformation tactics played an important role in elections in at least 18 countries over the past year, including the US.
- The Chinese and Russian regimes pioneered the use of surreptitious methods to distort online discussions and suppress dissent more than a decade ago, but the practice has since gone global.
- Paid Government Commentators: Venezuela, the Philippines, and Turkey were among 30 countries where governments were found to employ armies of “opinion shapers” to spread government views, drive particular agendas, and counter government critics on social media.
- Both state and non-state actors are increasingly creating automated accounts on social media to manipulate online discussions.
- In Mexico, an estimated 75,000 automated accounts known colloquially as Peñabots have been employed to overwhelm political opposition on Twitter.
Causes for Rise in Fake News
- Internet and Social media: Many people now get news from social media sites and networks and often it can be difficult to tell whether stories are credible or not. Social media sites can play a big part in increasing the reach of these types of stories.
- Lack of Checking Authenticity: Everyone is busy in sharing/liking/commenting on news items without checking the authenticity of news.
- No codes of practice for Social Media: Traditionally we got our news from trusted sources, journalists and media outlets that are required to follow strict codes of practice. However, the internet has enabled a whole new way to publish, share and consume information and news with very little regulation or editorial standards.
- Stratified Organization of Fake News: Fake news is no longer being considered a rare or isolated phenomenon, but appears to be organized and shrewdly disseminated to a target population. It is believed that the high possibility of these organized bodies coming into existence with the help of political influence.
Dangers/Threats posed by Fake News
- Political parties try to gain political advantages by polarizing the voter’s mind which further intensifies the tensions between different sections of society.
- Political campaigning has progressed from mere appeals in the name of identity or loyalty or tall promises to something akin to psychological warfare.
Economic: As communal tendencies emerge in politics due to the spread of fake news economic development has taken back seat. The problems faced by the problems are not solved by the government.
Society: It can disturb the social fabric of the society and tensions among communities persists for long times. It can lead to violence between two or more communities thereby creating enmity and hatred between them. It reduces the tendencies of cooperation between different communities.
International: Deep fakes are used by countries to target other countries and bring chaos or desired political changes. China and Russia are using deep fakes to target the hostile countries to gain political and trade benefits.
Faith in Media: People’s faith in social, print and electronic media reduces which could affect the benefits of these Media as well the spirit of democracy as media being the fouth estate of democracy. In its purest form, fake news is completely made up, manipulated to resemble credible journalism and attract maximum attention and, with it, advertising revenue.
Fake News Damages: Popular Examples from India
- Muzzafarnagar riots of 2013: fake video fuelled communal passions
- UNESCO has declared ‘Jana Gana Mana’ best national anthem in the world (WhatsApp)
- Dawood properties worth Rs 15000 Cr seized in Dubai (Zee News, ABP)
- President Kovind makes Twitter debut; gains 3 million followers in one hour (Republic, Zee news, TOI etc.)
- Nostradamus had predicted the rise of supreme leader Narendus (Zee News)
- Dying Woman Molested, Video shows (The Hindu)
- Fatwa in Saudi Arabia; Men can eat wives when hungry (AajTak)
- GPS tracking nanochip in 2000 Rupee notes (Nov 2016)
- Salt Shortage rumours (Nov 2016)
- Child kidnapping rumours lead to lynchings by a mob in Jharkhand
- Minister using a Russian photo to show LED-electrification of streets
- Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) annual report used a picture of Spain-Morocco border to show Indian border floodlighting
- Missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmed has joined the ISIS
Rebuttal: It is a form of fact-checking wherein the fake news is debunked by pointing out errors like mismatch, malicious editing and misattribution.
Public Education: Educating the end-users to be more discerning consumers of news by informing them of verification tools so that they can ascertain the accuracy of a news item before sharing it.
Laws and Regulation to Curb Fake News in India:
- There is no specific law against fake news in India. Free publication of news flows from Article 19 of the Constitution guaranteeing Freedom of Speech.
- The Constitution of India provides a long-term solution under Article 51A (h), which says, “It shall be the duty of every citizen to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.”
- Press Council of India: It is a regulatory body which can warn, admonish or censure the newspaper, the news agency, the editor or the journalist or disapprove the conduct of the editor or the journalist if it finds that a newspaper or a news agency has violated journalistic ethics.
- News Broadcasters Association: It represents the private television news and current affairs broadcasters. The self-regulatory body probes complaints against electronic media.
- Indian Broadcast Foundation: It looks into the complaints against contents aired by channels.
- Broadcasting Content Complaint Council: It admits complaints against TV broadcasters for objectionable TV content and fake news.
- Indian Penal Code: Section 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot) and Section 295 (injuring or defiling a place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class) can be invoked to guard against fake news.
- Information Technology Act 2000: According to the Section 66 of the act, if any person, dishonestly or fraudulently, does any act referred to in Section 43 (damage to computer, computer system), shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine which may extend to five lakh rupees or with both.
- Civil or Criminal Case for Defamation: It is another resort against fake news for individuals and groups hurt by the fake news. IPC Section 499 (defamation) and Section 500 (whoever defames another shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both) provide for a defamation suit.
- Globally, Snopes and in India Social Media Hoax Slayer, AltNews are some forums which expose fake news.
- WHO has established the Information Network for Epidemics (EPI-WIN) that unites technical and social media teams working closely to track and respond to misinformation, myths and rumours and provide tailored information and evidence for action.
- International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), which is assisting journalists working on the frontlines of the “disinfodemic” around the world, to ensure accurate, trustworthy and verifiable public health information reaches communities everywhere.
- Facebook has allowed users in fake news prone areas to report the news to the agencies.
- WhatsApp has limited forwarding option on its online platform.
- Social media companies, too, are investing billions of dollars into technological solutions such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) to identify fake news and its proliferation.
- Fake news has existed since the dawn of the printing press but in the age of the internet and social media, it has found a tremendous application. Manipulation of algorithms of social media and search engines is a global trend now.
- Misinformation and disinformation spread in the media is becoming a serious social challenge. It is leading to the poisonous atmosphere on the web and causing riots and lynching on the road.
- Countering content manipulation and fake news to restore faith in social media without undermining internet and media freedom will require public education, strengthening of regulations and effort of tech companies to make suitable algorithms for news curation.
- Any future legislation should take the whole picture into account and not blame the media and go for knee-jerk reactions; in this age of new media anyone can create and circulate new for undisclosed benefits.
- Italy, for example, has experimentally added ‘recognizing fake news’ in school syllabus. India should also seriously emphasize cybersecurity, internet education, fake news education in the academic curriculum at all levels.
- If the Government is really serious about fake news, then they must start with mainstream publications, where there is editorial control where the President of the editors guild has himself contributed to the spreading of fake news.
- UPSC Current Affairs: A Climate Risk | Page – 6
UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Environment | Mains: GS Paper III – Environment, Ecology & Biodiversity
Sub Theme: Preparing for disaster management prior to flood | National Water Policy |UPSC
Context: Current monsoon season has given us a warning signal and an opportunity to prepare well on disaster management with respect to floods and landslides.
Observations in the article:
- For most of last week, all-India rainfall has been over 50% more than what is normal for this time of the year.
- Konkan coast and the southern peninsula have been seeing instances of extreme rainfall.
- Accumulating that there is a distinctive change in climate patterns.
- The frequency and the strength of cyclones over the Arabian Sea have increased in the last two decades (52% increase).
- Studies show that a heating globe has increased atmospheric moisture levels, contributing to short, intense spells of rains.
- The interaction between warming, rainfall and temperature is complex and variables such as aerosol emissions, particulate matter pollution, agriculture and forestry patterns must be accounted for.
Extreme events — bursts of torrential localised rainfall and prolonged droughts and heatwaves — are likely to increase.
National Water Policy
- Master plan for flood control and management for each flood prone basin.
- Adequate flood-cushion to facilitate better flood management.
- While physical flood protection works like embankments and dykes will continue to be necessary, increased emphasis should be laid on non-structural measures such as flood forecasting and warning, flood plain zoning and flood proofing for the minimisation of losses and to reduce the recurring expenditure on flood relief.
- Strict regulation of settlements and economic activity in the flood plain zones along with flood proofing.
- Inflow forecasting to reservoirs should be instituted for their effective regulation.
ARC on NDM act, 2005:
- Disaster/Crisis Management should continue to be the primary responsibility of the State Governments and the Union Government should play a supportive role.
- The law should cast a duty on every public functionary, to promptly inform the concerned authority about any crisis, if he/she feels that such authority does not have such information.
- Stringent punishment for misutilization of funds meant for crisis/disaster management.
- Using powers under Entry 56 in the Union List, a Law may be enacted to set up mechanisms for collection of data, managing flow in rivers and release of water from reservoirs, so as to prevent disasters, with interstate ramifications.
- Awareness generation programmes should be undertaken using tools of social marketing.
- Details of past accidents and disasters and the lessons learnt, should be documented and kept in the public domain.
- The Mitigation plan should be prepared in consultation with all role players.
- All crisis/disaster management plans should be tested periodically through mock drills.
- Environment management should be made an integral part of all development and disaster management plans.
- Prioritising Buffers, Flexibility and Adaptability:This includes reviewing safety criteria of dams and canals, re-building these with higher safety factors, creating new intermediate storages, and introducing dynamic reservoir management.
- There is a need for efficient implementation of Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, this will reduce the vulnerability of any disaster.
- Focusing on Urban Flood Management: Keeping in view the fact that the problem of Urban Flooding is becoming more severe, and losses are mounting every year.
- National Flood Risk Mitigation Project (NFRMP): ensuring that arrangements are in place to mobilise the resources and capability for relief, rehabilitation, reconstruction and recovery from disasters besides creating awareness among vulnerable communities.
- Flood Management Programme: provides financial assistance to the state governments for undertaking flood management works in critical areas.
- UPSC Current Affairs: Telangana temple gets World Heritage tag | Page 1
UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: History & Culture | Mains: GS Paper I – History & Culture
Sub Theme: UNESCO World Heritage Tag| Kakatiya Rudeshwara (Ramappa) Temple | UPSC
In context: Telangana's 800 year old Kakatiya Rudeshwara (Ramappa) Temple has been given a world heritage site tag by the UNESCO. The decision was taken at the 44th session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO on Sunday (25th July).
Ramappa temple, a 13th century engineering marvel named after its architect - Ramappa, was proposed by the Indian government as its only nomination for the UNESCO World Heritage site tag for the year 2019.
About Ramappa Temple
According to Ministry of culture -
- The Rudreswara temple was constructed in 1213 AD during the reign of the Kakatiya Empire by RecharlaRudra, a general of Kakatiya king Ganapati Deva. The presiding deity here is RamalingeswaraSwamy. It is also known as the Ramappa temple, after the sculptor who executed the work in the temple for 40 years.
- The temple complexes of Kakatiyas have a distinct style, technology and decoration exhibiting the influence of the Kakatiyan sculptor. The Ramappa Temple is a manifestation of this and often stands as a testimonial to the Kakatiyan creative genius.
- The Ramappa temple stands on a 6 feet high star-shaped platform with walls, pillars and ceilings adorned with intricate carvings that attest to the unique skill of the Kakatiyan sculptors.
- The sculptural art and decoration specific to the time and Kakatiyan Empire have an outstanding universal value. The distinct style of Kakatiyas for the gateways to temple complexes, unique only to this region confirm the highly evolved proportions of aesthetics in temple and town gateways in South India.
- European merchants and travelers were mesmerized by the beauty of the temple and one such traveler had remarked that the temple was the "brightest star in the galaxy of medieval temples of the Deccan".
- UPSC Current Affairs: Getting India’s military convergence formula right| Page 6
UPSC Syllabus: Mains: GS Paper III – Internal Security Challenges
Sub Theme: Challenges – Unified Theatre Command | Lack of National Security Strategy | UPSC
What does this Article Highlight?
- In January 2020, the government appointed General Bipin Rawat as the first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and Secretary of a new Department of Military Affairs (DMA) in the Ministry of Defence.
- Along with his appointment as CDS, he was also given the task to re-organise the military within three years and promote jointness and re-structure military commands for optimal resource utilisation.
- However, concerns have been raised that the decisions were taken with haste, which could undermine the very goals that the government seeks to achieve. Also, there are reports of the reluctance of the Indian Air Force to go along with the schemes that are proposed.
- Apart from this, recently General Bipin Rawat in an interview mentioned Air Force as a supporting arm for the ground forces, much in the way artillery, or combat engineers are. This has been rebutted by Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria, further raising doubts on cohesiveness of joint operation.
- In this backdrop, let us go through the challenges faced in the process of reorganisation of India’s armed forces.
Challenges & Concerns
- Holding and Controlling Land and Water is considered essential in an armed conflict – It is because of this reason armies and navy see air forces as an adjunct. As witnessed in the past, from Vietnam to Afghanistan, air power failed to deliver the promised results for United States. Based on these past events, the army and navy do not see eye to eye on strategic aspects of warfare with airforce.
- Ageing Aircrafts & Depleting Pilots – As per media reports, IAF is 25% short on fighter jets along with shortage of approx 10% of their authorised pilot strength. Because of already depleted strengths, IAF is concerned that further splitting of its assets will further deplete the Air Force.
- Views of CDS against Multi Domain Operations of Present – The idea expressed by CDS prevailed more in World War 2 era and does not suit modern requirements where integrated Air-Land or Air-Sea operations are the norm. Presently, doctrinal norms are shifting more towards Multi-Domain Operations which fuse not just the traditional Air Force, Army and Navy elements, but cyber capability to disrupt communications and enhanced logistics to increase the depth and tempo of operations.
- Organisational Challenges for CDS – CDS is a four-star officer and being Secretary to DMA, he controls promotions, postings, and disciplinary matters and has the ability to throw his weight around with the Service Chiefs. Further, CDS, as the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, is adviser only to the Defence Minister and that too on tri-service matters. However, he is not responsible for the defence of the country, does not makes defence policy or the acquisition of capital equipment. All these responsibilities lies within the jurisdictional domain of the Civilian Defence Secretary. Confusion also reigns over CDS’s relationship to the National Security Adviser (NSA) who heads the Defence Planning Committee created in 2018 and the Strategic Planning Group as of 2019.
- Theatre Commands may deplete – Government intends to raise four Theatre Commands - Air Defence Command, Maritime Theatre Command, Integrated Eastern Theatre Command and Integrated Western Theatre Command - The theatre commanders will be of the rank of Lieutenant General/Vice Admiral/Air Marshal and will report to the Chiefs of Staff Committee chaired by General Rawat as CDS and comprising the three Service Chiefs. However, Indian Air Force has expressed its unhappiness over the development. IAF is of the view that given its meager resources, dividing them amongst the theatre commands and an air defence command would be counterproductive.
- Lack of National Security Strategy – Ideally, changes of this scale should follow a clearly articulated National Security Strategy and be worked around a joint defence doctrine. However, in this case, structures are being created to shape up India’s National Security Doctrine.
What needs to be done?
- There is a need for a comprehensive National Security Strategy to guide the services develop capacities required in their respective domains.
- There is the need to transform professional education and inter-service employment to nurture genuine respect for others.
- Armed forces must resolve their differences among themselves and should not rely on Politicians or Bureaucrats.
- There is a need to ensure good quality staff, in adequate numbers, at apex joint organisations, to reassure individual services and those in the field.
- We must understand that what works for other countries may not necessarily work in our favour.
What we need is tailor-made solutions based on a comprehensive National Security Strategy. A genuine convergence of mind (Airforce, Navy & Army) is critical for genuine military jointness.