In the world's largest democracy, a trio of news organizations are restoring truth, facts and transparency to society.

Laureate
Govindraj Ethiraj
Venture
IndiaSpend, BOOM, and FactChecker
Program
McNulty Prize
Location
India
McNULTY PRIZE LAUREATE

Govind Ethiraj noticed the world around him becoming increasingly clouded with inaccurate or misleading stories in the media, but he could not find a reliable fact-checking source that could provide transparency. He felt a call to action and created a multi-faceted approach to improve the quality of public discourse: IndiaSpend, BOOM, and FactChecker. In the world’s largest democracy, transparency and government accountability are critical to preserving the rights and welfare of the community.

400
News organizations that carry stories from IndiaSpend every day.
#1
BOOM is India's leading fake news busting initiative.
Only 4
Asian ventures verified by fact checking network, Poynter. Govind's are the only ones in India.

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As a successful financial journalist for over 25 years, Govind learned the power and necessity of having accurate and truthful data. Frustrated by the lack of truthfulness and transparency in the Indian media environment, he became determined to provide all citizens with the same accuracy demanded by investors and businesspeople.

We collaborate with other social media platforms and debunk fake news at such a fearsome scale that those who disseminate fake news are forced to step back.

Govind Ethiraj

IndiaSpend, BOOM and FactChecker collaborate to ensure Indian citizens receive accurate and truthful news. IndiaSpend “uses data to tell stories” vital to the public interest, like the growing air pollution crisis in Delhi, to influence policy makers and hold them accountable by alerting the public to problems. BOOM identifies and debunks misinformation and fake news on popular journalism and social media platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook. Lastly, FactChecker examines public statements made by institutions, public figures, and media outlets to verify their authenticity or provide needed context. The ventures collaborate with other news outlets, social networks, embassies and law enforcement to quickly debunk fake stories designed to stir up ethnic and religious violence.

In addition, the organizations pursue stories with independent research to bring attention to crucial issues and put pressure on policymakers. In 2015, IndiaSpend built a nationwide air quality monitoring network called #Breathe. The initiative was a great success, creating a benchmark for measuring pollution data and generating facts-based reports that contradicted official government figures. The project continues with 25 active monitors across the country, and Delhi has begun taking radical steps to reduce particulate pollution in the nation’s capital. #Breathe is just one example of how these ventures are changing the way the Indian media and government interact with citizens.

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