India Elections: The role of Fake News and Hate Speech- and how data journalists respond

Kursnummer: 15619

02. Mai 2019, 10.00 – 12.00 Uhr
fjum_Seminarraum, Karl Farkas Gasse 18, 1030 Wien
kostenlos. Anmeldung erforderlich.

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They are the world’s biggest democratic elections: 900 Million Indians are eligible to vote in General Elections between April 11th and May 19th. Current Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking re-election with contender Rahul Gandhi from the oppositional Congress Party on the other side. Ahead of the election India is becoming a breeding ground for the spread of fake news. With the national elections ahead experts predict a fake news crisis that could influence voters‘ opinion.

Unlike in western countries, most of India’s fake news spread via WhatsApp. With over 200 million monthly active users, India is WhatsApp’s biggest market in the world. It has also been the most challenging market for the technology giant. Furthermore a growing number of hate speech online is targeting the atmosphere of a free and open public debate. Media experts and journalists have repeatedly pointed out, that organized and paid “troll armies” are attacking users on social media platforms.

For journalists, media platforms or policy analysts who are fighting and debunking fake news the main problem is the lack of data: The government is not releasing the data or it is highly suspect. This poses a crisis not just for policy makers but also for journalists.



Indian data journalist and fact checker Prachi Salve will give a short introduction into social media use in India, the spread of fake news and the role they play in the current election.

In a Discussion/Q&A we will talk about social media and the ongoing elections, her work as a data journalist and how difficult it is to get solid facts and figures, as well as the development of data journalism in India. Afterwards there is the possibility to do face-to-face-interviews with Prachi Salve.



Prachi Salve

Prachi Salve is a Senior Policy Analyst/program manager with IndiaSpend ( It is India’s first data journalism initiative. The non-profit utilises open data to analyse a range of issues with the broader objective of fostering better governance, transparency and accountability in the Indian government. Apart from that Salve works with (, India’s first dedicated fact checking initiative. There she currently works on Gender, Health and economy.

Prachi Salve holds a master’s degree in economics from Mumbai University and one in Development Studies from the University of Sussex, UK. She has been a research assistant at the Institute of Development Studies (UK) and the Young Foundation (UK).

02.05.201910:00 - 12:00
kostenlos. Anmeldung erforderlich.
Karl-Farkas-Gasse 18, 1030 Wien Anfahrtsplan