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SC expresses concern over fake, communal news on social media, says ‘brings bad name to country’

The court said even news shown in a section of channels bears communal tone, which may bring a bad name to the country.
 

SC expresses concern over fake, communal news on social media, says brings bad name to country-dnm
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New Delhi, First Published Sep 2, 2021, 3:08 PM IST
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The Supreme Court on Thursday expressed serious concern over fake news being spread over social media platforms and web portals in the absence of a regulatory mechanism.

The court said even news shown in a section of channels bears communal tone, which may bring a bad name to the country.

A bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana hearing a batch of petitions including the one filed by Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind seeking directions to the Centre to stop dissemination of "fake news" related to a religious gathering at the Markaz Nizamuddin and take strict action against those responsible for it, asked, “Everything shown in a section of private news channels bear a communal tone. Ultimately, this country is going to get a bad name. Did you ever attempt to regulate these private channels?"

The Chief Justice also stated that social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube only listens to “the powerful voices” and don’t respond to judges and write against institutions without any accountability.

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“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 bench said.

Representing the Central government, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta responded saying Centre has come out with new Information and Technology Rules to take care of the issues flagged by CJI. He requested the court to list the transfer plea before the Supreme Court in the matter related to IT Rules. “Different High Courts are passing different orders. Your Lordship can have a holistic picture, as it is an all-India issue,” the Solicitor General stated.

The apex court agreed to hear the matter in six weeks after the Centre’s plea seeking transfer of petitions from various high courts to itself on the issue of newly-enacted IT rules meant to regulate online content including social media and web portals.

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