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Public intellectuals have a duty to expose false narratives: Justice Chandrachud

Public intellectuals have a duty to expose false narratives: Justice Chandrachud

Supreme Court Justice DY Chandrachud said that public intellectuals have a duty to expose the lies of the State. He was delivering the 6th Chief Justice MC Chagla Memorial Lecture.

Justice said that it is important in a democratic country to hold governments responsible and guard against falsehoods, false narratives, and fake news. He cautioned against an over-reliance on the government to provide social, political, economic, cultural, and medical truths, reported NDTV.

He said that totalitarian governments are known for their constant reliance on falsehoods to consolidate power, and people cannot rely only on the State for truth. He cited the data manipulation related to the pandemic and pointed out that the world is seeing an increasing trend to manipulate Covid-19 data.

"Human beings have a tendency to get attracted to sensational news... which are often based on falsehoods," he noted. He added that people should be open to being vigilant, reading, debating, and accepting different opinions. He also called for a positive atmosphere in schools and colleges where students learn to differentiate truth from falsehood and question those in power.

He further elaborated that the phenomenon of fake news is on the rise. His statements come amid concerns related to fake Covid-19 data being repeatedly expressed by experts, activists and journalists.

He recommended strengthening public institutions to counter fake news. He added that we must ensure that we have a press that is free from political or economic influence. We need a press that will provide us with information in an unbiased manner, he stressed.

Justice Chandrachud noted that the WHO called the rise of fake news an 'infodemic'. The WHO had warned about the wave of fake news and misinformation emerging on social media, including "deliberate attempts to disseminate wrong information", in February 2020.

Justice Chandrachud acknowledged that social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook should be held responsible for false content. "We live in a post-truth world. Social media platforms are responsible... but citizens are also responsible. We incline towards echo chambers and don't like opposing beliefs... we live in a world that is increasingly divided along social, economic and religious lines," said the Justice.

He criticised the habit of reading newspapers that align with one's own beliefs and ignoring books written by people who do not belong to our stream of thought. "We mute the TV when someone has a different opinion. We do not truly care about the 'truth' as much as we do about being 'right'," he said.

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TAGS:Justice Chandrachud Public intellectuals 
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