New Delhi: Expressing its displeasure and concern over the way a section of web portals, social networking sites and channels run fake news and harm reputations in absence of a regulatory mechanism, the Supreme Court on Thursday said that they only listen to powerful voices and write anything against judges, institutions without any accountability.
The Supreme Court bench, headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana observed, “I don’t know, why everything is given communal angle. They (these social networking sites) only listen to powerful voices and write anything against judges, institutions without any accountability.”
The CJI Ramana also observed, “These social media sites and channels even don’t respond to us. They say we are not responsible. Institutions, judges, maligned on social media.”
The Supreme Court bench was hearing a petition filed by Jamiat Ulama I Hind and the Peace Party seeking appropriate direction to stop certain media sections from allegedly spreading fake news while linking the spread of COVID-19 with the Nizamuddin Markaz event in 2020.
The Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta, senior lawyer appearing for the Union of India (UoI), told the Supreme Court that “please grant me two weeks we will file something”.
To this, the CJI said, “you have taken four adjournments to file affidavit Mr Mehta.”
“Please grant me time for 2 weeks. We need to file a document,” Mehta said.
The Mehta said that the balance is between freedom of the press and the right of citizens to get correct information. We have tried to make sure that no untoward information/news is broadcast. Rules have been framed for broadcasters and web portals.
The CJI observed many web portals are not under the control of anybody.