To counter communalism and hate-mongering on online platforms, Congress is inviting people across the country to join 'Social Media Warriors’ who will debunk fake news and scrutinise the ruling government’s policies.
They plan on enrolling volunteers who are in line with their politics and can dedicate a few hours. When the article was written, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) social media head, BR Naidu told NewsKarnataka that 19k-20k people from Karnataka have volunteered for the task and an estimated 1.5L people across the country have signed up. The party aims to end its enrolment by March 7 with around 5 lakh volunteers.
We talked to KPCC Social Media Head, BR Naidu who is spearheading the initiative to know more about 'Social Media Warriors’.
The idea originated during Covid-19 and was started by KPCC President, DK Shivakumar when there was a need to maintain social-distancing and they had to find alternative ways to reach the people during the time of the crisis. Under the initiative ‘Digital Youth’, one youth was selected from each gram panchayat who was tasked with communicating issues about their GPs to the KPCC war room. The success of this initiative led to the creation of the Social Media Warriors.
One of the primary foci of this initiative will be to debunk fake news. BR Naidu said the online space has many advantages but there are also some grave negative sides. Referring to the death of several people in 2018 due to a Whatsapp rumour of prowling child kidnappers, he highlighted the impact the online space has on everyday life.
Noting that a section of the media nowadays is also run or owned by political parties, he added that the BJP government is adept at data manipulation. He accused them of altering the calculating methods employed to calculate GDP. He also further accused them of having increased petrol prices while the crude oil prices are lower than ever before.
Another aspect will be to highlight Congress' efforts in the country. “60 years ago, just after Independence, India was struggling to get food and had 30 crore mouths to feed. We also needed to educate the country to create better employment opportunities, With thousands of languages, and hundreds of religions, keeping this country together itself was a big achievement, and this was only possible due to the Congress party’s efforts.”
He also mentioned he is not aware of a single sector that has improved under the seven years of BJP’s rule. He added that it was quite unfortunate that the public sector was being privatised, increasing the cost of living for the average man. Institutions like LIC that was started with very few investments are in shambles under this government’s management. This government should focus on providing basic amenities to the people. “We need to fight against the communal forces and the corrupt BJP government that is looting our public sectors like the BSNL and HAL.,” said BR Naidu.
Once the volunteer-registration ends on March 7, background checks will be performed and they will be requested to submit their social media handles to ascertain their political affiliations. Once they pass through the first trial, volunteers will be segregated based on their area of expertise and pincode, and will be trained to counter the online communalism and fake news.
They will be monitored by several layers of committees that will overlook their activities to ensure civility in their social media interactions. Any individuals found violating the ethical standards set by the committee, will be immediately removed and the law will take its course.
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