The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the media to refer to the official government version about developments of COVID-19 while publishing news about the coronavirus pandemic.
As per reports, the order was passed by a bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde.
“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,” the bench said.
“We expect the media (print, electronic, or social) to maintain a strong sense of responsibility and ensure that unverified news capable of causing panic is not disseminated,” it added.
The order was passed to prevent the circulation of fake news as it causes panic among citizens.
The bench also stated that panic can severely affect mental health of people.
“We need to calm down those who are in a state of panic,” it added.
A daily bulletin by the government of India through all media avenues including social media and forums to clear the doubts of people would be made active within a period of 24 hours as submitted by the Solicitor General of India,” the order uploaded in the night on the court website said.
The apex court also stated in its order that Section 54 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, provided for a punishment to a person who makes or circulates a false alarm or warning as to disaster or its severity or magnitude, leading to pa
The top court will hear the case again on April 7, 2020.