Can’t overlook fake news by media, migrants lost their lives due to this: Supreme Court
New Delhi, Apr 01: The Supreme Court has said that it expects the media to maintain a strong sense of responsibility and ensure that unverified news capable of causing is not disseminated.
A daily bulletin by the Government of India through all media avenues including the social media and forums to clear doubts of the people would be made active within a period of 24 hours as submitted by the Solicitor General of India, the court also said.
Further it said that it does not intend to interfere with the free discussion about the pandemic, but direct the media refer to and publish the official version written about the developments.
The migration of the large number of labourers working in the cities was triggered by panic created by fake news that the lockdown would continue for more than three months. Such panic driven migration has caused untold suffering to those who believed and acted on such news. In fact some have lost their lives in the process. It is not possible for us to overlook this menace of fake news either by electronic, print or social media.
On Tuesday the Centre has sought a direction from the Supreme Court that no media house should print, publish or telecast anything on COVID-19 without first ascertaining facts from the mechanism provided by the government.
The directive was sought following a report filed by the Home Ministry which said that fake news was the biggest hindrance in fighting the coronavirus.
In its report to the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Home Affairs said fake news has made the fight against coronavirus hard. It is the the biggest hindrance in the fight against the pandemic, the Home Ministry also said.
Earlier the Supreme Court directed the Centre to set up a committee of experts and a portal for information on coronavirus. The court said that the same shall be set up in 24 hours.
The court is hearing a petition seeking directions to provide food and shelter to migrant workers amid the lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak. Solicitor General, Tushar Mehta told the court that there is a complete prohibition on interstate migration.
Mehta also said that the government is considering providing counselling to address the panic. He further added that her 22.88 lakh people are being provided food. These are needy persons, migrants and daily wagers. They have been kept in shelter, Mehta also told the court.