The Mumbai Police on Saturday reissued a prohibitory order under Section 144 of CrPC against dissemination of malicious, derogatory or incorrect information through social media platforms like Whatsapp, Twitter, Facebook, Tik Tok, Instagram etc in order to protect people from fake news or incorrect information about Covid-19.
The said order issued by DCP (Operations) Pranaya Ashok states-
"There is widespread dissemination of fake news, incorrect information , misinformation and other objectionable content in the form of messages, videos, images, memes, audio clips etc (both edited and self-created) over social media platforms like Whatsapp, Twitter, Facebook, Tik Tok, Instagram etc. Such type of content has been found to have caused panic and confusion among the general public, inciting mistrust towards government functionaries and their actions taken to control the Covid-19 pandemic and also to have created animosity towards various communities."
The order will come into force in areas under the control of the Commissioner of Police, Mumbai with effect from 00:15 hrs on May 25 to 24 hrs on June 8.
According to a TOI report, since the lockdown began in March, Mumbai police has registered 25 cases of fake news and rumours spread through social media platforms, out of which 17 have been arrested and the rest are wanted. Whereas, 419 such cases have been registered all across Maharashtra, out of which 223 have been arrested.
The order also states that all persons designated as 'Admin' on messaging and social media platforms, either by self or by allowing any member of the group, shall be personally responsible for any such information being disseminated from a group administered by them.
"It shall be the personal responsibility of all persons designated as 'Admin' on messaging and social media platforms to report any such malicious, incorrect or derogatory content posted by a member of the group to the police immediately."
Police has been issuing and reissuing the same order since March and in April the said order was challenged by one Pankaj Rajmachikar before the Bombay High Court. Court observed that prima facie the said order has been passed with the objective of protecting people from false or incorrect information about Covid-19 and adjourned the case.
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