The Supreme Court on Thursday has criticised a ‘section of media’ for showing everything in the country with a communal tone. A bench led by Chief Justice of India N V Ramana was hearing a batch of petitions, including the one filed by Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind, seeking directions to the Centre to stop the dissemination of “fake news”, which links the spread of Covid-19 with the Tablighi Jamaat gathering at the Markaz Nizamuddin, and take action against those responsible for it.
The bench also comprising Justices Surya Kant and A. S. Bopanna observed that the content shown in a section of private media bears a communal tone.
“The problem is, everything in this country is shown with a communal angle by a section of the media. That is the problem. The country is going to get a bad name ultimately,” said Chief Justice NV Ramana asking the government had they ever attempt to regulate these kind of channels.
The Chief Justice also stated that social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and web portals have no accountability and they only worry about powerful men and not judges, institutions or common man.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said, “Not only communal but also planted news” is there and the IT Rules have been framed to regulate content online, including web portals.
The bench further said, “There is no control over fake news and slandering in web portals and YouTube channels. If you go to YouTube, you will find how fake news is freely circulated and anyone can start a channel on YouTube”.
The Supreme Court agreed to hear after six weeks the Centre’s plea seeking the transfer of petitions from various High Courts on new IT rules meant to regulate online content.
Apart from social media, even mainstream media of television are disseminating news without proper fact check and research. They don’t hesitate to telecast news with a communal angle without proper research and fact checking. Result of this, communal tensions arose between different sections of the society. Keeping in mind their nationwide reach, mainstream media should carry their work with utmost responsibility and proper research.
Faraaz is pursuing PG Diploma in TV Journalism from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.