New Delhi, March 31: The Centre on Tuesday sought directions from the Supreme Court that no media house should publish or telecast any unverified information on coronavirus. The Central government, in its status report said that media outlets should ascertain facts from its departments on COVID-19 before publishing or telecasting news. Coronavirus Death Toll in India Climbs to 44 After COVID-19 Patient Dies in Maharashtra's Palghar.
According to a report published in The Live Law, the Centre filed the status report in response to the PILs seeking directions for the welfare of migrant workers, and measures to control the pandemic transmission. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde and Justice L Nageswara Rao held the hearing through video conferencing. Centre Responds to Plea on Stranded Labourers in Supreme Court, Says 'No Migrants on Road as of 11am Today'
Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla filed the status report. The report read, “In an unprecedented situation of this nature, any deliberate or unintended fake or inaccurate reporting either in electronic, print, social media or web portals has a serious and inevitable potential of causing panic in large sections of the society.” Coronavirus Cases Breach 800,000-Mark Globally, Death Toll Nears 39,000.
The Centre said that false information could create panic among people and the direction from the apex court in this matter would “protect the country from any potential and inevitable consequence”. The Centre contended that the menace of fake news was the biggest challenge. "The country has taken preemptive and proactive steps. The government will shortly implement a system where panic among migrant workers is addressed. We have trained counsellors at the district mental programme, we can send them," Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said. Disinfectant Sprayed on Migrant Workers in The Open On Their Return To Uttar Pradesh Amid COVID-19 Lockdown, Priyanka Gandhi Tweets Video.
The Chief Justice replied, "We want to impress upon you that the panic will destroy more lives than the virus. You need counselors. You can have bhajan, kirtan, namaz or whatever, but you have to give strength to the people." The CJI specifically asked the Centre to explain the mechanism to control fake news. He said, "Why don't you take action against people if you are so concerned about fake news." Fake News of Government to Start Train from Nilambur Station for Migrant Workers Busted by Tamil Nadu Police, One Man Arrested from Malappuram.
The Chief Justice also asked the Centre to make arrangements to provide adequate provisions for drinking water, food, beds and medicines in shelter homes of migrant workers. The lockdown has left several thousand daily wagers without jobs and reduced their means of sustenance. Reports of workers choosing to travel on foot to their villages have emerged from many parts of the country, as public transport has also been shut down following the nationwide lockdown.
(With inputs from IANS)