India is paving the way to justify a digital caesarism based on opaque and ill-defined standards of fake news. The end goal is to allow an essentially reactionary and authoritarian government to control digital speech by means of anti fake news rules.
These rules are applied to platforms that themselves unofficially censor the speech of people who disagree with the particular brand of Caesarism their owners embrace. So we have an right-leaning authoritarian government going up against the left-leaning censorious platforms in a battle that true freedom lovers cannot win.
See below for original reporting that is stunningly devoid of the deeper critique a true people-centered free press would exercise.
The Centre has defended the legality of the new Information Technology (IT) Rules before the Delhi High Court, saying that the rules seek to “prevent the misuse of the freedom of press” and protect the citizens from fake news in digital media space which used to be largely unregulated.The Centre, in its counter affidavit filed on a challenge to the constitutional validity of the new IT Rules, has submitted that although the right to freedom of speech and expression, including the freedom of press, is critical for a vibrant democracy like India, citizens “cannot be treated as passive consumers.”
While submitting that there have been “past incidents of disinformation on digital media leading to disturbance of public order”, the Centre has asserted that digital media “allows sensational content being re-circulated in a different context leading to misinterpretation by the audience”, making it susceptible to being used as fake news.