India First Foundation (IFF) organised a panel discussion on "Misinformation a Menace" at Business School auditorium, Jammu University.Vice Chancellor Jammu University, Professor Manoj Dhar, Brigadier Brijesh Pandey BGS (IW), NC, Indian Army, AIG (Communication) PHQ, Manoj Kumar Pandit, Director Information & Public Relations, Dr. Syed Sehrish Asgar and senior Journalist Ashwani Kumar participated in the programme.VC Professor Dhar, while speaking on the occasion, exhorted upon youth to come up with innovative ideas and vision regarding issues concerning the society, Vice Chancellor Jammu University, Professor Manoj Dhar, asserted that this will help government formulate policies and programmes accordingly for optimum outcome.VC said that Jammu University now has come up with a social media policy to keep a check on spread of any kind of misinformation in the campus by encouraging use of social media in line with applicable laws and regulations. The policy will provide protection to the University's reputation and other members of its community."Fake news and misinformation campaigns are problematic in a democratic system and there is need to evolve an effective mechanism with incorporation of stringent rules and regulations to address these issues", the VC maintained while fervently appealing all stakeholders to work together towards curbing of plague of fake news.VC said that Government should promote news literacy and strong professional journalism in order to build public trust and correct fake news and disinformation. He added that the individuals must also follow a diversity of news sources, and be sceptical of what they read and watch.Since social media has now turned out to be a massive player in shaping public discourse in a democratic set up so there is dire need of stringent laws and norms to regulate the dissemination of information, he asserted.
The VC appreciated IFF for organising such an informative event and hoped that the organisation continue to hold such programmes in future also for larger interest of the society.Brigadier Brijesh Pandey and AIG Manoj Kumar Pandit, while sharing their role and responsibility in this regard, said that police and army have a huge role to play in tackling misinformation menace in the social media. They emphasized the need of timely intervention of government agencies in curbing the menace of fake news which is being spread in a viral manner in the world of social media. "A slew of rules and regulations on limiting the contents of social sites and related agencies is the need of the hour to contain the ever mounting campaign of misinformation", they maintained.Dr. Sehrish highlighted numerous steps initiated by the Department to limit the spread of fake news which not only challenges the credibility and integrity of a particular person or agency but badly hampers the nation's progress and prosperity.Director Information also elaborated on a number of initiatives being taken by the Information Department towards ensuring prompt and quick dissemination of authentic news and facts so as to prevent spread of fake news. In this regard, she highlighted the social media sites including twitter and Face book which is being run by the department in a total professional manner. She exhorted upon the media fraternity to optimally utilize this facility being extended by the department to check the veracity of the news before presenting the same to the public.Meanwhile, senior journalist Ashwani Kumar, while expressing his views on the subject, explained in detail the steps that can be taken by the journalists to tackle this menace effectively. He emphasized the need for strict adherence towards maintaining high standards of journalist’s ethics. He also highlighted several misinformation campaigns being launched in the social media. He said that it is the prime responsibility of a true journalist to extract the truth of every news before taking it to the public.