Hyderabad: The global COVID-19 pandemic has affected millions of people around the world. Several countries, including India, have sealed their borders and imposed a lockdown. India has been under a 21-day lockdown which will end on 14 April. During such times, misinformation has become rampant and fake news is causing panic among people.
Amidst this, a message claiming that India has implemented the Disaster Management Act (DMA) across the country has been doing the rounds. The message claims that according to the Act, apart from government departments, no citizen can post any update or share any forward related to the Corona virus.
Mandate To All Residents. 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 Coronavirus.
— Thabi-Makhumaloo (@Thabi0606khumz) April 6, 2020
A similar message with a link www.livelaw.com is also going viral.
According to LiveLaw’s report filed on 31 March, the Central government had sought a direction from the Supreme Court to prohibit the publication of COVID-19 related news by media outlets, unless the facts are ascertained by the mechanism established by the government. But it is important to note that the Supreme Court refused to give any such directive in favour of the government.
This claim is FALSE.
The Central government on 24 March, the day when the 21-day lockdown was announced, had stated that the Disaster Management Act, 2005 was being invoked to deal with COVID-19.
However, there is no provision in the Act which states that no one apart from the government departments are allowed to update or share news related to COVID-19.
We can find this Government order in the Ministry of Home affairs website : https://www.mha.gov.in/media/whats-new
On 31 March, 2020 the Central government had approached the Supreme Court asking it to prevent media from printing, publishing, or telecasting any news on the pandemic without first ascertaining the facts with government authorities. But the Supreme Court had passed an order saying it did not intend to interfere with the free discussion about the pandemic but the media must refer to and publish the official versions of the developments.
This documnet can be found in https://mib.gov.in/#
But there is NO such rule prohibiting citizens from sharing any news or updates about the pandemic. The news and updates, however, need to be confirmed by government officials.
LiveLaw also published the same report mentioning the decision of the Supreme court. This report is now being shared with a misleading claim. Live Law has clarified that its report has been misquoted and shared with a FALSE claim.
This claim has been fact-checked by PIB also.
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
Therefore, the claim that people cannot share or update news about COVID-19 is FALSE.