A fake news is being widely circulated in social media and Whatsapp groups that apart from government, no other person is allowed to post any update or share any forward related to COVID-19.
This false message is as follows :
Mandate for All :
Tonight 12(midnight) onwards Disaster Management Act has been implemented across the country. According to this update, apart from the Govt department, no other citizen is allowed to post any update or share any forward related to Corona virus and it being punishable offence.
Group Admins are requested to post the above update and inform the groups.
Please adhere this strictly"
Noticeably, a LiveLaw report is attached out of context along with message, so as to make the fake message seem credible.
The LiveLaw report seen along with the message is a report published on March 31 regarding the Central Government seeking a direction from the Supreme Court that no media outlet should print, publish or telecast anything on COVID-19 without first ascertaining facts from the mechanism provided by the government.
The report has no connection with the fake message. It is clear from a bare perusal of the report that it does not convey the news as sought to be spread through the fake message.
The report also has an update about the order passed by the Supreme Court later, after hearing Centre's submissions. The Court did not pass any order that no person other than the Government is allowed to share news about COVID-19. The Court expressed concerns about the spread of fake news in relation to the pandemic, and urged media to be careful in reporting. The Court expressly stated that it was not intending to curb free discussion on the pandemic; but asked the media to publish the official version.
"We do not intend to interfere with the free discussion about the pandemic, but direct the media refer to and publish the official version about the developments", SC said.
It is apparent that the LiveLaw report about these developments does not corroborate the fake news in any manner. Nevertheless, certain mischievous elements have misquoted the LiveLaw report along with the fake message to mislead gullible sections of the society.
In fact, the Press Information Bureau has also come out against this fake message, and has clarified that there is no such restriction.
Msgs circulating on social media claiming-apart from Govt no citizen is allowed to post/forward update on #COVID19- is MISLEADING&FALSE#PIBFACTCHECK: Circulating unverified/false news leading to panic is prohibited. As responsible Citizens let's not circulate fake forwards (1/3) pic.twitter.com/JvPPzd25DR— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) April 2, 2020