Fact check portals based on perception, conjecture, surmises, Centre tells SC in Tablighi case
New Delhi, Aug 07: The Centre on Friday while responding to a petition filed in the Supreme Court in the Nizamuddin Markaz congregation of Tablighi Jamaat case defended the rights of the media to reports facts.
Attempt to seek a blanket gag order against the entire media will effectively destroy freedom of the citizen to know about the affairs of the respective sections of the society in the nation and the right of the journalist to ensure an informed society. The Centre was responding to a plea filed by the Jamiat-Ulema-I-Hind.
The Jamiat-Ulema-I-Hind had taken objection to reports linking the spread of COVID-19 cases to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation at New Delhi during the lockdown and also on the attack on health workers.
They are neither per se false nor per se fake, though in isolated cases, it may be exaggarrated the Centre told the court. The Centre further questioned the credibility of fact check portals whose reports had formed the basis of the Jamiat's petition. They are unregulated websites and are mostly based on perception, conjecture, surmises, suppositions of the individual writing them, the Centre said.
"Furthermore, the bonafide of such non-accredit fact checking agencies and extraneous considerations being crept into such fact checking reports cannot also be ruled out," the Centre also told the court.
On April 6, the Jamiat had moved the Supreme Court seeking directions to the government and media not demonise the entire Muslim community over the spread of COVID-19. The court had said that it cannot gag the media and asked the petitioner to make the Press Council of India a party in the plea.