16. Dec 2022 / 20 min

“This Claim has been Fact Checked”: A Glimpse into Fact Checking in India

A conversation with Pratik Sinha. Hosted by Anumita Goswami.

Have you ever come across a post in social media which says, “The claim is disputed by third-party fact checkers”? Or have you ever come across the term fact checker? Are fact checkers journalists? To discuss these questions and the perils of fact checking and journalism in India, Anumita Goswami a doctoral researcher from Tampere University is joined by Pratik Sinha, co-founder of Altnews.in, a prominent fact checking site in India.

Fact checking is a relatively new genre of journalism which has emerged with the advent of social media. India has a growing crop of fact checkers who have routinely debunked mis and disinformation online. Their work has been recognised globally with one of them, Altnews.in and its co-founders Pratik Sinha and Mohammad Zubair were deemed one of the favourites to win the Nobel Peace Prize by the Time Magazine. However, the fact checkers have also faced intimidation both from online violence and fear of arrest from the state. This episode sheds a light on doing fact checking under Modi’s Hindu nationalist regime.

To do so we are joined by Pratik Sinha one of the co-founders of Altnews.in. We will discuss questions relating to his organisation and its business model and fact checking as a genre of journalism. The episode will also cover, the problems he and his organisation have faced with the arrest of Zubair as well as the other forms of intimidation. Additionally, we also talk about the future of journalism and the journalistic community in the context of the former and the recent recognition they received.

Pratik Sinha is one of the co-founders of Altnews.in, a prominent fact checking organisation in India. He started the organisation in 2017 with his friend Mohammad Zubair. Since then, he and his organisation has been routinely debunking mis and disinformation online. Their work was recently recognised when Time Magazine deemed one of the favourites to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2022.

Anumita Goswami is a doctoral researcher at Tampere University. Her research covers topics of social media infrastructure (content moderation, terms of service etc), online disinformation and hate speech and fact checking in India. She was previously Google News Initiative-European Journalism Centre Fellow 2021 at Yle Kioski.

The Nordic Asia Podcast is a collaboration sharing expertise on Asia across the Nordic region, brought to you by the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) based at the University of Copenhagen, along with our academic partners: the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku, Asianettverket at the University of Oslo, and the University of Helsinki.

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