Google launches News Initiative against fake news, will train 8,000 journos in India

Google News Initiative

To weed out fake news and support authoritative journalism, Google has launched Google News Initiative which will train 8,000 journalists in the next one year.

The initiative will equip journos with best-in-class skills required to debunk fake news.

Google India will select 200 journalists from cities across India, who will hone their skills in verification and training during a 5-days train-the-trainer boot camps.

They will be trained in-person by global verification experts and top Indian fact-checkers including First Draft, Storyful, AltNews, BoomLive, Factchecker.in and DataLeads, as reported by Google in its blog.

The workshops will be conducted in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Marathi and Kannada. The boot camps will be starting from July. Journalists will be trained by the certified trainers at two-day, one-day and half-day workshops.

Google-backed Network will bear all the expenses for workshops including – flights, accommodation, and transfers to and from the venue. Besides, trainers will be given a stipend for their commitment.

A journalist, who is keen to join this initiative by Google, can apply till July 5.

The focal point of the training would include fact-checking, online verification and digital hygiene for journalists.

Supporting trusted, authoritative media sources is a top priority for Google, says Irene Jay Liu, Google News Lab Lead, Asia-Pacific.

With rise in the dissemination of fake news, Google is not the first firm to start a fact-checking initiative in India.

Earlier in April, Facebook tied up with BOOM to introduce a third party fact checking programme. The social networking site also added that it will show the story lower in News Feed if the fact-checker rates a story as false. It will also send people and page administrators notifications if they try to share a story or have shared one in the past that has been determined to be false.

Twitter has also been partnering with law enforcement agencies and regulators to curb fake news.

Ever since the arrival of social media and news sharing apps, misinformation has mushroomed and become a centre point of debate.

With tech giants stepping up to tackle fake news, the question worth pondering is, for how long can the government be ‘far behind’?

Should and will there be binding rules, regulations and more responsibility on owners and editors of the news-houses in India? For a developing and democratic society, we know there should be a framework.

Is the government made for such transparency? Can they be, ever – is the question.

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