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Google News Initiative

Partnering with news publishers and fact checkers to tackle misinformation ahead of the Indian General Elections 2024

As India prepares for its general elections, we recognise the essential role of news publishers, journalists, and fact-checkers in helping people access trustworthy information they need for informed participation.

At Google, we have long supported this work by investing in features, resources and partnerships that can help people better evaluate online information. Continuing our commitment to enable the news ecosystem to combat misinformation, we are supporting Shakti, India Election Fact-Checking Collective - a consortium of news publishers and fact checkers in India, working together to aid the early detection of online misinformation, including deepfakes, and to create a common repository that news publishers can use to tackle the challenges of misinformation at scale.

Shakti, a pan-India network, will be driven by DataLEADS, in collaboration with the Misinformation Combat Alliance, The Quint, VishvasNews, Boom, Factly, and Newschecker, with support from the Google News Initiative.

Starting today until the conclusion of the General Elections in India, the project will focus on connecting independent fact checkers and Indian language publishers, giving them a collaborative platform to share fact checks, research resources and alerts on elections-related viral misinformation and deepfakes, saving crucial time. Fact-checks in multiple Indian languages and formats, including videos, will be shared and amplified via partnering news publishers, ensuring they reach a wider set of language users and diverse audiences across the country.

In addition, the project will provide news organizations and fact-checkers essential training in advanced fact-checking methodologies, deepfake detection, and the latest Google tools like the Fact Check Explorer, to streamline verification processes.

With this launch, the Fact-Checking Collective will continue to onboard new partners and scale the effort to reach most parts of the country.

If you are a news publisher interested in participating in the Fact-Checking Collective and empowering your newsroom and audience, you can sign up here. The Fact-Checking Collective will continue to prioritize publishers producing original news in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali and Marathi.

Shakti, a pan-India network, led by DataLEADS, in collaboration with the Misinformation Combat Alliance, The Quint, Vishwas News, Boomlive, Factly, and Newschecker, with support from the Google News Initiative

Syed Nazakat, Founder and CEO, DataLEADS: "We are proud to work with India's leading fact-checking organizations and news publishers to spearhead Shakti, especially at a time when deepfakes are being increasingly used for disinformation purposes. Amidst a complex information landscape, with the elections round the corner, the Collective is a crucial intervention towards building a robust fact-checking ecosystem to safeguard the democratic processes. We are honored and excited to partner with Google News Initiative to build this important consortium."

Bharat Gupta, President, Misinformation Combat Alliance (MCA), and CEO, Jagran New Media: "In an era where digital information flows faster than ever, the need to empower people with trustworthy and credible information has never been more critical. The strategic partnership of MCA with the Google News Initiative and DataLEADS will empower different demographics, helping individuals with credible and fact-checked information at the grassroots level, so that they can make the most informed choices during the elections and beyond. MCA's fact-checking members aim to debilitate and disarm the agents of disinformation by using a combination of high-integrity journalism and useful technologies against emerging threats to democracy."

Ritu Kapur, Co-Founder and Managing Director, The Quint: “Mis - and disinformation is proliferating at an alarming pace, aided by technology and fuelled and funded by those who stand to gain by it. The only way to combat the malaise is to join forces as fact checkers and news publishers. Not just to fact check that which has gone viral, but to prebunk and inoculate the same digital highways that spread fake information, with media literacy and relevant information. We need to work with our audiences so they can make well informed decisions as voters in a democracy. Google News Initiative and DataLEADS’ initiative towards building a collaboration between fact checkers and news publishers is a much needed step in this direction

This Fact Checking Collective expands our ongoing efforts such as the GNI India Training Network, PollCheck, Data Accelerator and Data Dialogue, through which, since 2018, we have supported the training of 65,000+ journalists, media educators and journalism students in 15+ languages, and empowered them with digital tools and skills needed to find, verify, and tell engaging stories while tackling the ever-evolving risk of misinformation.

To strengthen fact-checking organizations worldwide, including those in India, Google and YouTube launched the USD 13.2 million Global Fact Check Fund which has helped to enhance the capabilities of local and regional media organizations in producing high-quality, impactful fact-checking content. The set of grant recipients can be found here.

We continue to partner and support award-winning media literacy efforts like FactShala and Sach Ke Saathi that are helping underrepresented communities - youth, senior citizens and rural population - learn the critical thinking skills required to sift facts from fake.