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4) Legal tools are ill-suited to tackle the problem of fake news. Critically analyse.

Topic: Important aspects of governance; Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

4) Legal tools are ill-suited to tackle the problem of fake news. Critically analyse. (250 Words)

The Indian Express


Why this question

Fake news has been named as the word of the year 2017 and has prominently featured in public and political discussions across the world. Recently India’s I&B ministry had issued a press statement aimed at restricting the problem of fake news. However, the issue is intricately linked to the issue of free speech, and there are various other issues which undermine the capacity of legal tools to tackle the problem. The question is related to GS-2 syllabus under the following heading- Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

Key demand of the question

The question demands a critical analysis of employing legal tools to tackle the menace of fake news. We have to dig deep into the issue and explain why legal tools are not sufficient to handle the issue. We also have to form a personal opinion on, to what extent and how legal tools can be employed, and what associated efforts are required to tackle the issue.

Directive word

Critically analyse- The question demands a personal/subjective opinion on the issue. We have to break-up the issue into parts and analyse them. Here we have to discuss the limitations, as well as the scope of employing legal tools to tackle the problem of fake news.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- Mention about fake news named as word of the year 2017. Also briefly mention in 1-2 lines, the harm caused by fake news.

Body- Divide the body of the answer into 2 parts. In one part, analyse why legal tools are insufficient with regard to handling fake news and what are the closely related issues.

In the other part, analyse, to what extent/ in what form, legal tools can be employed.

Conclusion-  in the conclusion mention in 1-2 lines, the recent I&B ministry’s initiative aimed at tackling fake news problem and what more could be done (you can also quote knowhere, a startup that combines machine learning technologies and human journalists to deliver the facts on popular news stories.