SCAM Alert To All Bloggers And News Portals – Publishing Fake News Can Land You In Jail

Randomly publishing any news or story without checking the authenticity can land you in jail and attract crores in penalty

Bloggers and news portals play a key role in providing information and spreading awareness. However, before publishing any news or story provided by a third party, it is important to check the authenticity of the content. This needs to be done even when the shared content may be coming from a reputed media agency. It is important to understand that scamsters are very smart and can fool the best of the best. In the past, everyone from police officers to judges and even government officials and politicians have been conned by scamsters.

Jail Term / Penalty for publishing fake news

If you publish any content without verifying the authenticity, and if it turns out to be fake news, you could be jailed and charged a heavy penalty. The affected party may even file claims worth crores against you for defamation or causing financial losses linked to the fake news you posted on your blog or news portal.

While currently there is no direct law for fake news, you can still be charged under various sections of the IPC. The charges will depend on the type of fake news published on your blog or news portal. Below are some of the charges that can be applied for spreading fake news.

Section 153 of IPC – Any illegal act that has been done with the intention of provoking a riot. The fake news you publish on your website can be considered as an illegal act. If charged under Section 153, you can face jail term of up to 5 years or fine or both.

Section 295A of IPC – This law covers any act that may hurt the religious sentiments and beliefs of people of another religion. It is possible that the news story you posted on your website may be charged under Section 295A of IPC. You can be jailed for 3 years or fined or both.

Section 505 of IPC – This law covers any statement, report or rumor that may have been published with the intent of creating public mischief. You can be imprisoned for 3 years and charged a fine or both.

Proposed Prohibition of Fake News on Social Media Bill, 2023

In 2023, a new bill was proposed in the parliament for dealing with fake news. It called for the creation of a Social Media Regulatory Authority that can keep a check on fake news. The proposed bill covers a wide variety of fake news items that may be shared on social media platforms. The bill has provision for jail term of up to 7 years for the individual found guilty. Such individuals may also be fined up to Rs 10 lakh. Or both jail term and fine can be applicable, depending on the type of crime.

Given the amount of fake news being shared online, the bill may be passed later this year or in the near future. It is possible that changes could be introduced in the bill before it becomes a law. It will be great if the new bill makes provisions to identify the source of the fake news, instead of just penalizing the blog or news portal where it was published.

Pankaj Bansal, Founder and CEO at Newspatrolling.com shares his experience on fake news

On Newspatrolling.com, informative articles are posted by various professionals and organizations on a daily basis. Founder and CEO of Newspatrolling.com, Pankaj Bansal, has been collaborating with bloggers and media agencies for more than a decade now. On 26th February, 2024, Pankaj received a request from a reputable media agency for a new post that needed to be published. As such requests were a routine affair, the news story was posted on Newspatrolling.com.

But later, it turned out that the news story was fake. Pankaj received a call from the legal department regarding the fake news story. It appears that scamsters are running a mega operation to dupe bloggers and news portals. With fake news posted online and with potential to go viral, scamsters can achieve various illegitimate goals.

In the case of Newspatrolling.com, the fake news story was about a false report on partnership between two renowned businesses. It is highly likely that the fake news was circulated with the goal to influence the stock markets.

Speaking about his experience with fake news, Pankaj Bansal said, “My humble request to all bloggers and news portals to not post any news or story randomly without first checking its authenticity. In my case, I was fortunate that the fake news story was deleted before it became viral. It is likely a new approach by fraudsters to spread fake news and make money. Always verify the news or story before posting on your website, even when it may be coming from a reputable source.”

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