MHA Think Tank Removes Manual on Sources For Spotting Fake News

The BPRD manual included The Quint’s fact-checking arm WebQoof as a source of fake news spotting and fact-checking.

Published11 May 2020, 08:18 AM IST
India
2 min read

The Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) removed the manual on how to identify and investigate fake news and communally-sensitive posts amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, within a day of being posted online.

BPRD, a think tank of the Union Home Ministry, came up with a 40-page guide ‘Fake News & Disinformation: A Guide for LEAs – How to spot and investigate,’ for law enforcement agencies, which included The Quint’s fact-checking arm WebQoof as a source of fake news spotting and fact-checking.

The list also included Alt News, BOOM, PIB, The Hindu-Fact Check among others.

“There were some technical errors. The report is being corrected and will be published soon again,” a senior BPRD official told The Hindu, on being questioned about why the report was removed from the website.

However, MHA sources privy to the matter told The Quint, “This was an internal document. Not for public or media.”

The official Twitter handle of BPRD had posted information about the manual at 04:34 pm on Friday, 8 May, which was deleted on Sunday, The Hindu reported.

On the communal front, the manual mentioned a screenshot of a fake and unrelated video which was used to claim that Muslims were licking utensils and accuses them of trying to spread coronavirus.

The BPRD guide also included examples of people sharing fake URLs and UPI IDs to those who wanted to donate for the PM-CARES fund, a Health Ministry’s order on PPE kit specifications, among others.

‘Internet Trolls Matter More Than Honour of Police?’

Soon after the removal of the manual, social media users including Alt News Co-Founder Pratik Sinha questioned if “internet trolls” mattered more to the government than “honour of police.”

(With inputs from The Hindu)

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