Association for Democratic Rights (ADR) trustee Vipul Mudgal Tuesday warned the media to be cautious about paid news, fake news and hate speeches which have direct relation with the elections.

Speaking at a workshop on ‘Free Fair elections and the Fourth Estate’, organised by Odisha Election Watch, Mudgal said paid news and fake news violate tax laws, electoral laws, the SEBI Act and all principles of democracy. It may be worth mentioning here that Odisha Election Watch is a non-government organisation which works for free and fair election.

He pointed out that nowadays the politicians are no more hitting the streets and resorting to agitation to air their views. “Instead they run to TV studios as everybody is trying to digitally manipulate and manage the media to ensure that media would be in their pockets,” he added.

The media, Mudgal said, should play a proactive role and journalist associations should resolve to fight against paid news, fake news and hate speeches to the keep the elections free and fair.

The fake news is a bigger issue now and many countries like Germany have made stringent laws to prevent it. Similarly, the hate speech is like a cancer in a democracy.

He concluded, “Though no civil society would allow hate speeches, every political party is doing it more or less.”

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