The Kerala Government has filed a statement in the High Court of Kerala informing that it has issued directions to Facebook and Youtube to take down videos spreading misinformation about Nipah virus. The statement was filed in the public interest litigation filed by two law students seeking directions to block access to videos which spread misinformation. The Joint Secretary to the Information Technology Department, Government of Kerala, issued a communication to Facebook and YouTube on 07.06.2018 stating as follows:-
“Two persons viz, Mohanan Vaidyar and Jacob Vadakkanchery, claiming to be practitioners of indigenous medicine and naturopathy uploaded some videos urging people not to take the directions given by the Government seriously and advised against following the precautionary measures. Since spreading of these videos among the public is seriously affecting the measures taken by the Kerala Government’s Health Department in curbing the virus outbreak, immediate action needs to be taken to remove the videos from public domain. So in exercise of powers conferred by the Section 79(3)(b) of the Information Technology Act, 2000, I am to request you to take immediate necessary action to remove the videos.”
The government also informed that criminal cases have been registered against Mohanan Vaidyar and Jacob Vadakkanchery under Sections 270 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 120(o) of the Kerala Police Act. It further stated that “Government has taken every step to curb the misinformation campaign initiated by fringe elements and every endeavour is being made to safeguard the lives of citizens from the “NIPAH VIRUS” outbreak”.
In the video posted by Mohanan Vaidyar, he denied the existence of Nipah virus and said he has an alternate cure for the disease, a medicinal preparation from herbs.
Jacob Vadakkanchery, who claimed to be a practitioner of naturopathy, claimed in his video that this was a hoax created by “medical mafia”. According to him, the alarm has been created only to benefit pharmaceutical companies. He urged people not to take any medicines and advised that the disease can be cured by taking nutritious food, adequate water and good sleep.
The matter has been posted to Wednesday for further orders.