The Misinformation Combat Alliance (MCA) has written to the Centre proposing a “multi-stakeholder consultative approach” for the self-regulatory organisation (SRO) which will be established within the next 120 days for fact-checking.

ET has seen a copy of the letter sent to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

In the letter sent on Friday, the MCA said the SRO framework would be “non-partisan” and establish “transparent fact-checking”. The not-for-profit organisation said the SRO it would set up would act as “one of the nodal bodies for Indian fact-checkers”. These fact-checkers will scrutinise non-government-related news for misinformation.

“Social media intermediaries such as Meta, Google, Koo, Sharechat and Snap have also agreed in-principle to support the constitution of the SRO – their participation will be subject to the final outcome of our efforts,” the MCA said in its letter addressed to minister of state for electronics and information technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar.

The MCA said it had reached out to more intermediaries for their support on the issue and was awaiting their response.

ET on Friday reported that the MCA would be sending a letter to the IT ministry soon in which it would share details such as on the timeline by which the SRO would be set up, the charter of principles for fact-checkers, the methodology to assess fact-checkers, the structure and constitution of the SRO and the grievance redressal mechanism.

“Separately, the MCA is also considering working with stakeholders on a self-regulatory code of practice on combating misinformation to enhance cooperation between social media intermediaries and signatory fact-checkers,” the MCA said in its letter.

The MCA is an alliance of media companies set up in March 2022 to combat misinformation and build tools to aid fact-checking. The need for an India SRO for domestic fact-checkers arose after the IT ministry turned down the industry’s request to continue using fact-checkers with international certifications such as those of the International Fact-Checking Network.

Earlier this month, the IT ministry, through an amendment to the Information Technology Rules of 2022, introduced a provision for the establishment of a government-run body to fact-check any misinformation about the government.

Government officials had then said that akin to the framework for fact-checking of misinformation about the government, there could be a mechanism for fact-checking non-government information as well.

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