Dear Reader,

Calling out misinformation and hate speech can be a perilous profession in India, as Mohammed Zubair, and AltNews, the fact-checking site he co-founded, have been finding out. Since creating the site half a decade ago, trolling, abuse, legal notices and criminal cases have been their return. So much so that they need a battery of lawyers to keep ahead of their harassers.

The latest strike by the police has been the case against Zubair for “hate-mongering”, “fifth in the last 21 months, filed in five cities of three states”, largely seen as payback for flagging the BJP national spokesperson’s aspersions against the Prophet of Islam in a TV debate last week. Article 14 chronicles the trials and travails of AltNews and its founders.

The ruling party spokesperson’s statements on the Prophet have also riled Islamic nations who have registered their angst and anguish. This reaction, The Citizen says, is a symptom of the fall in India’s esteem as a plural society in these countries, and will have profound geostrategic implications with the potential to erode India’s influence in the extended neighbourhood.

However, noted political analyst Yogendra Yadav argues in ThePrint that while the hostile reaction from the Muslim nations is understandable and may even be a check on the sectarian excesses of the ruling party, this respite may be illusory. The real battle is to be fought by Indian citizens against the rampant and increasing hate speech and violence in society – a battle that is for Indians alone to fight.

And, the RBI’s diktat that online merchants and payment aggregators will not be allowed to store credit and debit card details of customers starting July 1, 2022, is seen to be severely disruptive. MediaNama explains the new rules, the technology challenges and analyses the antidotes.

For more such stories from the grantees this week, please read on.


Sunil Rajshekhar

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A Fact Checker Faces Threats, Criminal Cases For Drawing Attention To Hate Speech By Hindu Extremists

Article 14 reports how AltNews, a fact-checking website and its co-founder Mohammed Zubair, who have been blowing the whistle on disinformation and hate speech, have been repeatedly targeted by the government.

Read Here

The West Asian Tide Turns Against India

The vehement reactions from the Islamic nations against the hate speech targeting the Prophet of Islam by the ruling party’s spokesperson have the potential to undermine India’s profile and soft power in the region. The Citizen analyses why.

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Why India must say ‘Thanks, but no thanks’ to Islamic states

ThePrint argues that the battle against hate speech, sectarianism and bigotry is for each Indian citizen to fight, and reading the reactions from foreign shores as a panacea will be pyrrhic.

Read Here

Deep Dive: Why Online Debit And Credit Card Transactions Will Start Failing From July 1

How disruptive and damaging could be the RBI’s decree to disallow merchants to store credit and debit card details of customers starting July 1, 2022? MediaNama analyses the potential for damage and suggests work arounds.

Read Here

More from the grantees
‘Had to be brave’: How 5 Dalit women defied barriers to enter a temple in Karnataka
The News Minute travels to Amlihal, a village in Yadgir, Karnataka, where five women from the Holeya SC community entered the local Hanuman temple for the first time, defying the unofficial ban on the people from lower castes entering the temple.
#begusarai: 8 किलोमीटर की दूरी तक सभी अस्पताल बंद पड़े हुए हैं, ग्रामीणों की हमेशा होती है मौत
Democratic Charkha reports from Sahuri panchayat in Chhaurahi block of Begusarai in Bihar, where primary health centres not only open for just two days of the week but are conspicuous by the absence of doctors, medical staff and medicines!
Seed Conservation By Women Farmers: Spearheading Sustainability And Financial Independence
Feminism in India reports from the ground in Rajasthan on how rural women are using traditional methods to conserve indigenous varieties of seeds.
How Technology Can Improve Citizen Civic Engagement
The Pre-Legislative Consultation Policy (PLCP), which mandates governments to place draft laws in the public domain for citizens to access and react to, has been less than par in its efficacy. The Bastion analyses how technology can help in ironing out the flaws.

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