At a time when a fake news can travel the world literally at the click of a button, India needs better media literacy and awareness on the phenomena. A panel of experts at The Indian Express Thinc on Wednesday discussed the need for a dedicated \u201carmy\u201d of people who could bust fake news, besides the traditional media stepping up to counter such rumours. The panel comprised co-founder of Altnews.in, Pratik Sinha; director general of the Indian Institute of Mass Communications, KG Suresh; managing editor of Boom, Jency Jacob; South Asia bureau chief of The Washington Post, Annie Gowen; and contributing editor of Business Standard, Vanita Kohli Khandekar. Opening the conversation on \u2018Uncovering the Truth in the time of Fake News\u2019, Sinha said Altnews primarily fact-checks three types of stories: speeches by politicians, certain stories by the mainstream media, and those with communal messages involving Hindu-Muslim binaries. Such stories, he said, go viral depending on how \u201cprovocative\u201d their nature was. But all such stories do feed into the \u201cmajoritarian politics that we have in the country today,\u201d he said. He said while mobile penetration had brought a larger number of sources of information to an increasing number of people, especially in rural areas, they have not been \u201cgiven a single tool\u201d to check if the information is \u201ctrue or not.\u201d This, he said, adds to the problem. Pointing out the increasing \u201cpolarisation of media\u201d, Suresh said the rise of propaganda and counter-propaganda is also compounding fake news. He said the problem is not just outside the industry, but even within. Journalists \u201chave done away with objectivity, accuracy, field work and cross-checking of facts\u201d. \u201cWe are not giving news the time it requires.\u201d Stressing that education and awareness were the \u201ckeys\u201d in handling the problem, Suresh said: \u201cWe need to go down to the school level, to the college level\u2026in educating younger people about how to identify fake news.\u201d Boom\u2019s Jacob agreed, and said it is \u201cperfectly possible\u201d to verify \u201cevery bit of news\u201d that is put out. On how political parties use \u201ccopycat tweets,\u201d Jacob said it took some 70-80 people to make a topic trend on social media. \u201cAnd many of the people who promote such tweets are not driven by money, but ideology,\u201d he said. Comparing the crisis of fake news in India with the West, Gowen said in the Western countries people were \u201cdigital natives\u201d with a better understanding of the internet. So, there is more \u201cdiscernment,\u201d unlike in Asian countries, where many people are able to access the internet for the first time, she said. Citing the example of content creators in Macedonia, who produced fake narratives during the American presidential elections, Khandekar said if fake news did not pay, the problem could be mitigated. The economy of fake news should be \u201cdemonetised,\u201d\u00a0 she said. Talking about the kind of issues that came up during the American presidential elections, which have been further highlighted in the past few days over Cambridge Analytica\u2019s role in harvesting data about millions of Facebook users, Sinha said India is not \u201cequipped\u201d to handle that kind of situation. Even now, he said, barely 5% of the fake news is \u201ctackled\u201d by fact-checking websites like his (Altnews), while 95% still pass through.