Parliament panel has mandate to ask IT ministry about ‘manipulated media’ issue: Shashi Tharoor

Amid the continuing ‘toolkit’ row, Congress chief Shashi Tharoor on Wednesday mentioned the parliamentary panel on info and expertise had written to the IT ministry over its communication with Twitter on the ‘manipulated media’ concern and has acquired an in depth reply on it.

Hitting again at BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, who had accused him of utilizing his place as chairman of the panel to tarnish the picture of the Centre, Tharoor asserted that it was effectively inside the mandate of the committee to search a clarification on Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s (MEITY) “contacts” with Twitter on the ‘manipulated media’ concern.

In a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, the BJP MP, who’s a member of the panel, had referred to some current remarks made by Tharoor on the Union authorities on the “toolkit issue”, and alleged that the Congress chief was “misusing” his official place to “tarnish” the picture of the Union authorities in addition to Parliament by elevating points that are outdoors the purview of the parliamentary panel.

Taking to Twitter, Tharoor mentioned that with reference to allegations circulated publicly not too long ago by a member of the Parliamentary Committee on IT relating to the ‘manipulated media’ concern, it’s clarified that given the committee’s incapacity to meet in present circumstances, it communicates with ministries in writing as required.

“On the subject of the Ministry of IT’s contacts with @Twitter on #ManipulatedMedia, the Committee Secretariat wrote to MEITY by email on 4 & 25 May and received a detailed and comprehensive reply dated 26 May, which is being circulated to all Members for their information,” Tharoor mentioned in a collection of tweets.

The committee is already inspecting the topic ‘safeguarding residents’ rights & prevention of misuse of social/on-line media platforms” which relates to this issue, he said.

It is therefore well within the committee’s mandate to seek a clarification on this matter from the ministry concerned, Tharoor asserted.

In a jibe at Dubey, he said, “As a matter of established observe and good type, members with points to elevate relating to the work of a parliamentary committee are suggested to talk immediately with the Chairman and/or the Committee Secretariat, quite than ventilating their considerations within the media with out dialogue.”

Hours after a BJP spokesperson’s tweets on an alleged ‘toolkit’ on the Centre’s Covid-19 response were labelled as ‘manipulated media’, the government on Friday had asked Twitter to remove the tag, saying the social media platform cannot pass judgment on a matter under investigation.

MEITY wrote “a powerful communication” to Twitter registering objection to the usage of ‘manipulated media’ tag on sure tweets, in accordance to sources.

The BJP had accused the Congress of creating a ‘toolkit’ that seeks to tarnish the picture of the nation and Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the dealing with of the Covid pandemic.

However, Congress denied the allegation and claimed that the BJP is propagating a fake ‘toolkit’ to defame it.

Last week, Twitter labelled as “manipulated media” a tweet by Sambit Patra on the alleged ‘toolkit’.

Twitter says it “could label tweets that embody media (movies, audio, and pictures) which were deceptively altered or fabricated”.

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