India is global guru of social media misinformation on covid-19: Study 

News Network
September 15, 2021

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India produced the largest amount of social media misinformation on Covid-19 due to the country's higher internet penetration rate, increasing social media consumption and users' lack of internet literacy, according to a new study.

The study, 'Prevalence and Source Analysis of Covid-19 Misinformation in 138 Countries', was published in Sage's International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions journal.

The study analysed 9,657 pieces of misinformation that originated in 138 countries. They were fact-checked by 94 organisations to understand the prevalence and sources of misinformation in different countries.

"Of all the countries, India (18.07 per cent) produced the largest amount of social media misinformation, perhaps thanks to the country's higher internet penetration rate, increasing social media consumption and users' lack of internet literacy," the study said.

Also, the results also showed that India (15.94 per cent), the US (9.74 per cent), Brazil (8.57 per cent) and Spain (8.03 per cent) are the four most misinformation-affected countries.

Based on the results, the study said, it is presumed that the prevalence of Covid-19 misinformation can have a positive association with the pandemic situation.

"Social media (84.94 per cent) produces the largest amount of misinformation, and the internet (90.5 per cent) as a whole is responsible for most of the Covid-19 misinformation. Moreover, Facebook alone produces 66.87 per cent of the misinformation among all social media platforms," it stated.

Earlier, the World Health Organisation had also warned that false information on Covid-19 is spreading and putting people in danger.

The WHO had urged people to make sure to double-check everything they hear with trusted sources.

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News Network
October 14,2021

Bengaluru, Oct 14: The Congress' Karnataka unit president D K Shivakumar said he will not blame anyone for the viral video in which former Lok Sabha member V S Ugrappa and media coordinator M A Saleem attributed him to an alleged scam when he was a Minister.

"People have already spoken whatever they wanted. I will not blame the BJP or the media. We only gave others a chance to use us," Shivakumar told reporters here.

He was responding to the queries on the embarrassing video of the purported conversation between Saleem and Ugrappa on Tuesday ahead of a press meet at the party's meeting hall. In the video, Saleem is purportedly heard calling Shivakumar a 'Collection Giraaki' (extortionist), who allegedly increased the 'commission' in irrigation contracts from eight per cent to 12 per cent.

The party suspended Saleem from the party for six years and served a show-cause notice to Ugrappa, who is Congress spokesperson, seeking an explanation in three days. The Congress state chief said the issue related to the viral video was not personal but pertained to a party, which was built by the lakhs of party workers.

Hitting back at the BJP for targeting him following the viral video, Shivakumar said let the BJP take note of what their leaders have spoken against their leader such as MLC A H Vishwanath, C P Yogeshwar, Ramesh Jarkiholi and Basanagouda Patil Yatnal.

"Why the BJP has not yet answered to the charges levelled by Vishwanath, Yogeeshwar, Ramesh Jarkiholi and Yatnal (against former Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa and his family)? Why are they not speaking about collection during the BJP's tenure," the Congress state chief said.

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News Network
October 13,2021

Mangaluru, Oct 13: Social media platforms were flooded with shocking reactions after Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai indirectly defended the increasing cases of immoral rowdyism (also known as immoral policing or moral policing) in Mangaluru and other parts of coastal Karnataka.

Netizens started the #BommaiStopMoralPolicing campaign on social Twitter and Facebook in protest against CM’s indirectly endorsement to people taking law into their own hands. 

Speaking to reporters in Mangaluru, Bommai said that "some youth should make sure that sentiments are not hurt" and added that it was a "societal issue". Indirectly comparing interfaith affairs to immorality, he said that if the actions hurt sentiments then there will be reactions. 

Congress and JD(S) members opined that such statements embolden anti-social elements involved in such incidents and warned that tacit support to such activities could turn Karnataka into another cow-belt state.

Congress spokesperson Lavanya Ballal attacked Bommai for issuing a statement in support of moral policing. "When the CM of the state supports moral policing what more can be expected from the minions? Citizens of Karnataka please stay safe, don’t expect the government to keep you safe," she said in a tweet.

JD(S) IT wing head Prathap Kanagal said that Bommai's remarks reflected a "sad state of affairs". "With this justification by our Karnataka CM Bommai, they are normalising mob attacks in the name of Moral policing in Karnataka," he said.

Twitter user Glen D'Souza accused Bommai of turning Karnataka into another Uttar Pradesh. "Karnataka the land of Basava (is) known as 'Shantiya Thota'. Today under Bommai, Karnataka is rapidly is turning to be another Uttar Pradesh," he claimed.

Activist Vinay Sreenivasa echoed a similar sentiment. "Moral Policing always destroys fundamental rights of an individual. It is an act by primitive minds and fascist forces to further divide society and destroy harmony. Give back our old Karnataka," wrote another user.

Youth Congress leader Mohammed Haris Nalapad said that such careless statements raised questions on the safety of people, who look up to the government to safeguard their interests. "This rudderless Govt is only busy fanning the fire of hate incidents in Karnataka," he alleged.

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News Network
October 13,2021

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Mumbai, Oct 13: The Narcotics Control Bureau on Wednesday opposed the bail plea filed by Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, arrested in connection with the seizure of banned drugs on board a cruise ship off the Mumbai coast, saying the probe so far has revealed his role in the conspiracy and illicit procurement and consumption of drugs.

The NCB in its affidavit also said that Aryan Khan was in touch with some persons, who appear to be a part of an international drug network for procurement of drugs.

Further probe is on with regard to financial transactions done abroad, the agency said.

“During initial investigation, some international linkages pertinent to this applicant (Aryan Khan) have been unearthed which prima facie indicate towards illicit drug procurement. The investigation requires sufficient time so as to approach the foreign agency concerned,” the affidavit said.

The NCB also submitted in the affidavit that the case of each of the accused cannot be considered individually or separately, as prima facie investigation reveals that there is a close link/nexus among all the accused, including Aryan Khan, for conspiracy to commit offences.

“It is not feasible to dissect or separate each from the other. All ingredients of crime, that are preparation, intention, attempt and commission, are present for this applicant (Aryan Khan),” the affidavit said.

The NCB submitted its affidavit in response to the bail plea filed by Aryan Khan before special judge V V Patil, designated to hear matters related to the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

The judge is currently hearing the bail plea.

Aryan Khan was arrested on October 3 following a raid on the Goa-bound cruise ship and is presently in judicial custody.

He is lodged at the Arthur Road prison in Mumbai. He approached the special court seeking bail after a magistrate's court rejected the same last week.

“It is prima facie revealed that accused No 1 (Aryan Khan) used to procure contraband from accused No 2 (Arbaaz Merchant) and the sources connected to accused No 2, from whose conscious possession six grams of Charas was recovered,” the NCB said in its affidavit.

It further said the material collated during investigation primarily revealed that Aryan Khan has a role in illicit procurement and distribution of the contraband.

As per investigations carried out so far, accused Aachit Kumar and Shivraj Harijan had supplied Charas to Aryan Khan and Arbaaz Merchant, the anti-drugs agency said.

“The role and involvement of this applicant (Aryan Khan) in the commission of grave and serious offences under the NDPS Act, including illicit drug trafficking, is apparent considering the nexus and connection of this applicant with the other accused in the case,” the NCB said.

All the accused are inextricably connected and hence, it is not possible to dissect the role of each accused from the other, it added.

Prima facie investigation reveals a close nexus between all the accused persons and their involvement in conspiracy to commit illegal acts cannot be ruled out, the agency further said.

“The case of each applicant cannot be considered in isolation. All these persons are an integral part of a common thread which cannot be separated or dissected from one another. In such a situation, the quantum of recovery (of drugs) from one accused becomes inconsequential,” the NCB said in the affidavit.

“Even though from some of the accused there is no recovery or less recovery of contraband, the participation by acts of such persons, who have acted in concert, conspiracy forms the basis of the investigation,” it said.

From the investigation, it is revealed that all the accused persons form a part of a "larger chain/nexus" and their involvement in the conspiracy to commit illegal acts and violations under Section 29 of the NDPS Act cannot be ruled out, the affidavit said.

Section 29 of the NDPS Act pertains to abetment to commit an offence or criminal conspiracy.

The NCB further said there have been several seizures of intermediary quantities of drugs from Aryan Khan's co-accused and there has also been seizure of commercial quantities of Mephedrone from one accused – Abdul Sheikh.

It said the allegations that the accused have been falsely implicated are untrue and misleading, as there is sufficient material in the form of WhatsApp chats and photographs which show the ingredients of conspiracy.

“Considering the influence that Aryan Khan holds in the society, it is very much possible that he may tamper with evidence and influence other witnesses whom he personally knows,” the affidavit said, adding there is also a possibility of the accused fleeing justice.

The court is also hearing the bail pleas filed by Arbaaz Merchant, Munmun Dhamecha, Nupur Satija, Aachit Kumar, Mohak Jaiswal, Shreyas Iyer and Avin Sahu.

So far, 20 people have been arrested in the case. 

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