Mangaluru: The Dakshina Kannada district 'Corona Warriors' team is striving hard to fight against fake news while also providing accurate information about the status of the district.
DK Corona Warriors is a team of 483 volunteers registered with the Department of Information and Public Relations and Indian Redcross Society, Karnataka. It was formed in response to an appeal by the Government of Karnataka. These are citizens from all walks of life representing the diversity of the Dakshina Kannada district.
The primary mandate for the Corona Warriors is to fight fake news and broadcast authentic, helpful information to citizens of the district. Additionally, they are involved with daily reporting of lockdown statuses and issues in their respective neighbourhoods. They are also involved in implementing social distancing and usage of masks by helping neighbourhood businesses and making appeals to the people. The group is also committed to supporting the district administration in relief works and emergency situations.
The warriors are divided into nine taluk groups. The broadcast messages are curated by a core group of four, assisted by an investigation/tech team of 18 people. The group has broadcasted 81 messages between March 31 and April 6, which includes 25 fake news alerts. Out of these, six local fake news were investigated and busted by the team.
Operating in a highly disciplined manner, the group is supervised by a master volunteer. The core team is continuously scanning social media platforms and the Government's official websites for messages and bulletins relevant to the Dakshina Kannada district.
All such messages are shared in the taluk groups. Every time a group member reports suspicious, inflammatory or fake news, the core team takes it up for investigation. If the investigation team's findings are conclusive and backed with corroborating evidence, then a fake news alert is prepared, which is shared in the taluk groups.
Each warrior, in turn, will broadcast these messages to his contacts, who will further disseminate the information to more people.
By conservative estimates, messages broadcasted by the DK Corona Warriors are reaching at least 2,64,000 people each day.
The volunteers have been connecting people in distress to appropriate governmental departments and social service organizations. In many cases, the Warriors have also arranged for relief materials by themselves.
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