Google partnerships strengthen fact-checking initiatives in India

By Surabhi Malik


Gurgaon, India


Journalism and news media across the world have been evolving constantly over the last few years. They must keep up with the changing ways people seek and access news and information.

How news is gathered, presented, and distributed today is very different from several years ago. And it is likely to manifest itself in new forms several years from now. These changes create a need for people in newsrooms to strengthen their digital skills.

As a former journalist in India, I have seen this change at a fast pace. As the country with the second largest Internet population in the world and an ever-increasing number of people coming online, there is a pressing need for journalists to adapt quickly.

Trainings through the Google News Initiative include a variety of people and organisations, ranging from individual journalists to large newsrooms.
Trainings through the Google News Initiative include a variety of people and organisations, ranging from individual journalists to large newsrooms.

Working within digital newsrooms of two established news publishers in India, I always strived to help my colleagues learn more about how technology is evolving and how it could enable them to tell more informed stories to better engage with audiences. In my current role as the Google News Lab lead for India, I feel humbled to be able to continue this work, albeit at a larger scale and greater ability to help more newsrooms.

My team is part of the larger Google News Initiative and consists of former journalists from different parts of the world. We collaborate and work closely with local and global industry peers. These include a variety of people and organisations, including individual journalists, small or local newsrooms, and leading academics. We support them in tackling key challenges like online misinformation, developing digital skills, assisting in innovation, and accelerating media diversity.

Through our programmes and partnerships, we have trained more than 500,000 journalists and journalism students via workshops held both online and in-person in more than 70 countries. Our online journalism resources provide on-demand courses on topics like digital fundamentals, data journalism, online safety, and online verification. Our concise toolkit for journalists is available in 17 languages.

In India, the Google News Initiative and its programmes have held more than 1,000 workshops since 2016 across 100+ cities and in more than 10 languages. More than 50,000 participants from 2,500 newsrooms and colleges have so far attended workshops, which are often held at journalism colleges, newsrooms, and press clubs to aid maximum participation.

A key part of our work in India has focused on tackling misinformation. In 2018, in the run up to the general elections, we launched the GNI India Training Network, a collaborative fact-checking training initiative. We trained journalists on the skills they needed to detect online misinformation and share what they learned with their audiences to help them cut through the noise.

The number of fact-checking organisations has grown five-fold in India since the start of this programme. There are now more than 20 organisations involved, and it is available in multiple languages.

Many of the trainings focus specifically on misinformation and fact-checking resources.
Many of the trainings focus specifically on misinformation and fact-checking resources.

Four years later, India has more fact-checking initiatives that are signatories of the global fact-checking body, the International Fact-Checking Network, than anywhere else in the world. Alumni of the GNI India Training Network lead a good majority of these initiatives.

Programme trainees also form a very active community of experts on the subject, working with multiple local stakeholders like academia, researchers, government agencies, and civil society. They often lead key initiatives and media literacy efforts for their communities. Since 2020, we have supported FactShala, which provides information literacy to first-time Internet users through trusted sources like civil society organisations, nonprofits, journalists, and media educators.

Beyond India, there are a range of different programmes and initiatives underway.

In other parts of the world, we have supported key coalitions like CekFakta in Indonesia, which was launched ahead of the presidential election in 2019. More recently, we supported #FactsFirstPH, a project in the Philippines to connect journalists in other countries ahead of their national elections.

I feel immensely humbled each day to be working with some of the most inspiring partners and industry experts as they come together to tackle challenges that no one can solve alone. May their tribe grow, and may there be more power to the collaboration.

About Surabhi Malik

By continuing to browse or by clicking “ACCEPT,” you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance your site experience. To learn more about how we use cookies, please see our privacy policy.