Cape Town, July 20 (IANS) The 2018 BRICS Media Forum concluded on Thursday after leaders of mainstream media organisations agreed on an action plan to promote media cooperation during 2018-2019.
The action plan said consensus was reached after in-depth exchanges on topics including media's role and responsibility in strengthening the BRICS narrative, enhancing cooperation among new media in BRICS countries, as well as media cooperation between BRICS and Africa, Xinhua reported.
The participating media organisations believed the world is undergoing major development, transformation and adjustment amid growing uncertainties and destabilizing factors, but building a community of common destiny remains the main objective for the development of humanity, it said.
In keeping with the BRICS spirit of openness, inclusivity and cooperation, and to contribute to a brighter future of mankind, the action plan urged BRICS media organisations to improve mutual learning and draw on each others' experiences, further promote personnel exchanges and expand information exchanges.
Among the things to do in the plan, BRICS media organisations were urged to encourage exchanges between the nations' public and private media organisations, promote pragmatic cooperation throughout their media communities and consolidate and extend the circle of friends of BRICS media outlets.
It called for taking full advantage of new media like the Internet and social media, spreading good stories of BRICS cooperation and creating new highlights of BRICS reporting.
In terms of exchanges of personnel, the action plan said the BRICS countries should develop an education network to develop young journalists and establish a BRICS media academy for journalists, which will include workshops to be held wherever BRICS meetings are staged.
It also called for efforts to identify how BRICS media organisations can create an environment in which there can be people-to-people exchange between journalists and media people throughout the BRICS community, stressing that the BRICS media participants agreed to carry out a cooperative action plan in the spirit of equity, pragmatism and mutual benefit.
To acknowledge the significance of the day, July 18, which was the centenary commemoration of Nelson Mandela and the opening day of the two-day event, the meeting agreed to adopt the "Cape Town Declaration 2018", which called for striving to learn from each other and to create pathways for sharing of content, news and upholding the principles of responsible journalism and put measures in place to limit the spread of fake news.
In the document, the BRICS member media organisations said they would stand united and in one voice to declare that they should be included in the opportunity to report in a free and unbiased manner on issues pertaining to their own and member countries.
A total of 48 media organisations from the five BRICS countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, as well as from African nations including Namibia, Zambia and Ghana, among others, participated in the event.
New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) Hauled up second time by the government on its failure to check the spread of fake and provocative content on its platform amid growing lynching episodes, the Facebook-owned platform on Friday said it is launching a test to limit message forwarding to five chats that will apply to its users in India.
In its second notice on Thursday, the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) took a tough stand, asking WhatsApp to come out with more effective solutions that can bring in accountability and facilitate enforcement of law in addition to their efforts towards labelling forwards and identifying fake news.
"It has been conveyed to them in unmistakable terms that it is a very serious issue which deserves a more sensitive response," MeitY said in the notice.
WhatsApp reacted: "In India, where people forward more messages, photos, and videos than any other country in the world, we'll also test a lower limit of 5 chats at once.
"We will also remove the quick forward button next to media messages," WhatsApp said in a statement.
The test, once comes to practice, will curtail WhatsApp's services for over 200 million users in India. Globally, the company allows users to forward messages for up to 20 chats (either individuals or groups).
WhatsApp said that with new changes, which it will continue to evaluate, "will help keep WhatsApp the way it was designed to be: a private messaging app".
"We are deeply committed to your safety and privacy which is why WhatsApp is end-to-end encrypted, and we'll continue to improve our app with features like this one," it added.
In its first reply to the IT Ministry, WhatsApp said the company is "horrified" by terrible acts of violence.
The IT Ministry had asked WhatsApp to ensure that the platform is not used for malafide activities over the growing instances of lynching of innocent people owing to large number of irresponsible messages filled with rumours being circulated on its platform.
The mobile messiging service listed several measures -- including labelling Forwarding messages -- in its first reply to control the spread of misinformation and abuse on its platform but failed to meet the requirements from the IT Ministry.
Several people have lost their lives in the past one year by lynch mobs after rumours of child lifting triggered via messages on WhatsApp.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh for the first time admitted in the Lok Sabha on Thursday that fake news on social media has resulted in many mob lynching incidents in the country, saying the government has asked service providers to put a check on rumour mongering on social media.
Expressing concern over the misuse of social media, Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu also asked the government to evolve a national policy after discussing with all stakeholders including political parties to combat the menace.
The Supreme Court also issued 22 guidelines this week for the central and state governments to put an end to "horrendous acts" of vigilantism, lynching and mobocracy and directed them to work in tandem to take "preventive, remedial and punitive measures".