• A collaborative fact-checking effort, comprising a consortium of Indian fact-checkers and news publishers.
  • In the run-up to the 2024 elections, the Collective will work collaboratively to detect and debunk online misinformation, deep fakes and AI-enabled misinformation.
  • The consortium will also amplify the reach of fact-checked information in local and regional languages.

New Delhi: In the run-up to the 2024 general elections, Shakti – India Election Fact-Checking Collective, was launched today by DataLEADS in partnership with the Misinformation Combat Alliance (MCA), and in collaboration with leading Indian fact-checking organisations including The Quint, BOOM, Vishvas News, Factly and Newschecker. This initiative is supported by the Google News Initiative.

As India braces for the general election, the moment is marred by the prevalence of misinformation, especially in the digital space. Recognizing the urgency to address misinformation during this critical time, Shakti aims to empower people with accurate information, by streamlining the fact-checking ecosystem to combat the spread of false narratives. It is a consortium of Indian fact-checkers and publishers working together to aid early detection of election misinformation, deep fakes and amplify the reach of fact-checked information in local languages. 

“In an era where digital information flows faster than ever, the need to empower people with trustworthy and credible information has never been more critical. The strategic partnership of MCA with DataLEADS will empower different demographics, helping individuals with credible and fact-checked information at the grassroots level, so that they can make the most informed choices during the elections and beyond”, said Bharat Gupta, President, MCA.

The core objective of Shakti is to ensure responsible and accurate reporting during the 2024 general elections of India. The primary objective of the Collective is to enhance the Indian fact-checking ecosystem by providing a unified platform and network. It will optimise time and resources for participating organisations by pooling in knowledge and leads, and will also do capacity building on election fact-checking and deep fake detection.

“We are proud to work with India’s leading fact-checking organisations and news publishers to spearhead Shakti, especially at a time when deepfakes are being increasingly used for disinformation purposes. Amidst a complex information landscape, with the elections round the corner, the Collective is a crucial intervention towards building a robust fact-checking ecosystem to safeguard the democratic processes. We are honoured and excited to partner with Google News Initiative to build this important consortium,” said Syed Nazakat, Founder and CEO, DataLEADS.

The members of the Collective will have access to diverse fact-checking stories in various languages and regions; gain advanced capacity-building training on digital investigation and deep fake identification; monitor information space to detect harmful content; and access a database of fact-checked stories and content. Shakti allows participating publishers to republish fact-checked stories and help amplify its reach and messaging.  

“Mis-and disinformation is proliferating at an alarming pace, aided by technology and fuelled and funded by those who stand to gain by it. The only way to combat the malaise is to join forces as fact-checkers and news publishers. Not just to fact check that which has gone viral, but to bunk and inoculate the same digital highways that spread fake information, with media literacy and relevant information”, commented Ritu Kapur, Co-Founder and Managing Director, The Quint.

Shakti will also give advisory support and expertise to navigate the complexity of election-based misinformation and amplify the fact-checking ecosystem. The Collective has been formed to address common challenges faced by the fact-checking community, publishers, and newsrooms, including resource constraints, language barriers, and competency gaps. It fosters a collaborative spirit to enhance fact-checking efforts and build a resilient information ecosystem.

“In these times of all-pervasive social media, creating awareness about and tackling misinformation thus becomes an important task and challenge for all of us. By pooling our skills and teams, we hope to contribute to building a collaborative network that truly empowers our citizens”, stated Govindraj Ethiraj, Founder, BOOM. 

Publishers and newsrooms are encouraged to join the Collective and amplify the efforts of  fact-checking to address the rising threat of deep fakes and election-related misinformation. Register here to join the Collective.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Name: Sonia Bhaskar

Designation: Programme Head

Email: sonia@dataleads.co.in

About Shakti:

Shakti – India Election Fact-Checking Collective, is a consortium of Indian fact-checkers and publishers working collaboratively in the run-up to the 2024 polls to aid early detection of election misinformation and deep fakes and amplifying the reach of fact checks in local languages. The effort is being driven by DataLEADS in collaboration with the Misinformation Combat Alliance (MCA), Boom, The Quint, Vishvas News, Factly, Newschecker and is enabled with support from the Google News Initiative.

For more information: https://projectshakti.in/