Lucknow, Aug 31: In what clearly seems like an attempt to bring the media under the government's control, the administration of Uttar Pradesh's Lalitpur district has not only asked journalists to registered the Whatsapp groups they are part of, but also to furnish details of all the members of the group.
The order, jointly issued by Lalitpur DM Manvendra Singh and Superintendent of police O P Singh on August 25, has left the media personnel fuming with some saying that it is a clear attempt to muzzle right to expression.
It furher says that the admins of such groups will have to submit copy of his/her Aadhaar card and photographs other necessary documents. The registration of Whatsapp groups needs to be done with the state's information department, which is headed by UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath himself. The order by Lalitpur
District Magistrate Manvender Singh defended the order and said it should be seen as an attempt to check fake news and curb anti-social elements including rumour mongering, reported News 18.
"Journalists in the district, who want to use or are using WhatAapp groups need to disclose them to the district information officer's office. Admin of any such group has to furnish detail of all the members of the group. He/she needs to submit copy of his Aadhaar card and photographs among necessary documents," reads the order, as per News 18 report.
Several lynching incidents and acts of violence have taken place due to the rumours being spread on Whatsapp and other social media platforms. But, that cannot be taken as an excuse to monitor Whatsapp groups.
In journalism profession, Whatsapp groups are extensively used by scribes to share information with each other.
According to a New 18 report, the diktat drew sharp reaction from local media professionals and many have already closed their WhatsApp groups.