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NewsClick editor, Alt News co-founder to be examined in Facebook case

Facebook has faced criticism over allegations that it favours the BJP-led NDA government in India

Sunday October 11, 2020 4:35 PM, IANS

Facebook bias

New Delhi: Delhi Legislative Assembly's Committee on Peace and Harmony will examine the editor of online news portal NewsClick, Prabir Purkaystha, and co-founder of Alt News, Pratik Sinha, on Monday in continuation of its proceedings against Facebook for its alleged inaction to tackle harmful content on its platform.

The decision was taken in a meeting in continuation of the previous proceedings of the committee under the Chairmanship of Raghav Chadha following allegations against the social media platform over its conduct on various instances, including the conduct of free and fair elections and the Delhi riots.

The committee has decided to call upon some further witnesses, in light of the allegations and issues of grave concern raised in the complaints against the social media platform.

With a view to carry out the relevant proceedings, the committee has sent a formal notice to Purkaystha and Sinha for appearance before the committee on Monday. Pursuant to vetting of the complaints and taking prompt cognisance of the issue, the committee in its earlier meetings examined certain independent and expert witnesses having regards to the issue of grave public importance set out in the complaints against Facebook.

Pertinently, having regards to the great public importance involved in the issue at hand, the committee has decided through its Chairman Raghav Chadha to invite the media to attend the proceedings and do live streaming of the entire proceedings for more public outreach with a view to ensure transparency.

Thus proceedings of the committee on Monday shall also be streamed live. The Delhi Legislative Assembly's Committee on Peace and Harmony was formed after the Delhi riots. It has received many complaints which said that Facebook did not remove hurtful content from its platform. The committee initiated its first round of proceedings by summoning witnesses, including eminent journalist and author Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, digital rights activist and journalist Nikhil Pahwa, to assist the committee.

The committee has taken cognisance of complaints against Facebook officials. The social media platform has faced criticism over allegations that it favours the BJP-led NDA government in India, to push its own business goals in Asia's third largest economy. The committee is also probing if "there is any role or complicity of Facebook officials in the Delhi riots" which took place earlier this year.

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