Engineer, lawyer form organization to monitor 'biased', 'fake' news reports
An aeronautical engineer from Mumbai and a Delhi-based lawyer have come together to set up a group, which will monitor news reports and social media posts that are "biased and fake" and take necessary action. The organization, "India Against Bias Media" (IABM), has been formed by Vipul Saxena, an aeronautical engineer, and Vibhor Anand, a Supreme Court lawyer.
Journalists express concern over actions of the organization
"The group has been filing cases against disseminators of reports... aimed at destroying the religious and social fabric of the country," Saxena said. However, journalists expressed concern over the setting of the group, saying it may harass and intimidate scribes and social media users.
Launched two weeks ago, organization has filed around 24 cases
The duo had been working on the project for the last two years but made a soft-launch of the forum on Twitter over a week ago. Since then, they have filed almost two dozen cases, mainly of sedition across the country. "We are getting full support from people of clean and responsible media and not going to deter from wrongdoers," Saxena tweeted on Wednesday.
Will not stage protest, will deal with people legally: Saxena
54-year-old Saxena dismissed suggestions that his organization was like a pressure group or a media-watchdog and also denied any political affiliation. "Our team of legal experts will deal with those who indulge in circulation of biased, fake, manipulated, morphed contents which could create social or religious disharmony. We'll never stage a protest, but will deal with such people legally," Saxena said in an interview.
Sedition cases filed against Swara Bhasker, Youtuber Dhruv Rathee
Saxena said in the last four to five days, IABM has filed sedition cases against actor Swara Bhasker in several police stations across the country and also a Youtuber, Dhruv Rathee. Bhasker had tweeted a picture of a man tied to a jeep as a "human shield" by an Army officer in Kashmir last year to deter stone-pelters.
Cases will be withdrawn after an apology
"Most of the cases have been filed under IPC sections like 120(B) (criminal conspiracy), 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot), and 153(A) (promoting enmity between different groups)," Saxena said. "If individuals booked under these charges express regret or say sorry for their comments or tweets, IABM will withdraw the cases against them," he said.
Team of professionals to detect fake, biased news
Asked who will decide whether a news report is "biased or fake", Saxena said, "We have teams of professionals who know which news contains truth and which one is motivated." He said the Press Council of India (PCI) has proved ineffective in its job as a media regulator. "When the PCI starts doing its true job, we will pack our bags," Saxena added.