YouTube Channels Spreading Fake News: Supreme Court Reacts

Date:

V Ramana, Chief Justice of India, says; YouTube channels and portals bring a bad name to our country by spreading fake news

On Thursday, the SC of India said the role of the press, which can be accessed free within a democracy, must be esteemed. And also warned of extensive misuse of the right to freedom of speech by bourgeoning. YouTube channels and other portals to spread fake news and reports intentionally biased would ultimately bring a bad name to the country.

N V Ramana, CJI, said, “The print and television media are generally responsible and have a regulatory mechanism in place for effecting corrections. But everything is shown in a section of media, especially the web-based ones, carry a communal overtone. There is no control”.

A year ago, the resumed hearing of an old petition filed by Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind mentioned the spreading of fake news and unfair reporting during the pandemic to disparage Tablighi Markaz.

The bench of the CJI and Justices Surya Kant and A S Bopanna took the lid off its pent-up grievances against online portals and channels purportedly indulging in negligent and intentional reporting to destroy reputations and spread communal conflict.

N V Ramana, CJI, said that Web portals and YouTube channels lack control over fake news and accusing and are allowed to post anything with zero verification or without paying attention to facts.

On YouTube, many media are spreading fake news. Without restrictions or criteria, anyone can start a YouTube channel and socialize whatever they want. Also, he enquired Solicitor General Tushar Mehta whether the Centre has imposed any controlling mechanism against the one’s exploiting the right to freedom of speech. 

Information and Technology Rules 

Tushar Mehta replied that the real challenge is freedom of speech and the right of people to get precise news. By implementing the new Information and Technology rules, we have tried to balance the media’s right to free speech and the citizens’ right to correct information.

He also adds, the rules mainly aim to stop the spreading of fake news and to hold the web portals and channels answerable for the content dispersed by them. 

Mehta said the new IT rules have been challenged in high courts and requested SC to hand over all pending petitions in High Courts for an authoritative ruling intended to subserve media’s right to freedom of speech and citizens’ right to reliable news.

 The CJI had not yet conveyed his worries over the current scenario connecting the web portals and channels. Ramana added, ‘web portals and YT channels write vituperatively against judges, institutions and whomever they hate and when asked to bear responsibility for their false posts, they never respond. Also, they consider having a right to post whatever they want and do not have any control’. 

SJ reported an increasing tendency among web portals to defame the image of individuals and institutions through fake reporting. Implementing the new IT rules helps the government fasten responsibility for the media and the news they publish.  

Three Tier Mechanism 

The government attempted to balance freedom of speech and the right to correct news through a three-tier mechanism:

  1. The aggrieved person can raise a complaint against concerned media.
  2. SC instructed the press to take remedial measures necessary or respond to the complaint within 15 days.
  3. If no corrective actions are accepted, or the complaint remains unheard of beyond 15 days, the authorities can initiate proceedings. 

The Supreme Court asked the SG to ensure that the Union government filed a counter-affidavit in two weeks to end fake news and negligent reporting.

SC also added that it would list the Centre’s appeal for transferring all petitions in HCs challenging the new IT rules to the apex court along with the main petition filed by Jamiat Ulama. 

Hizana Farhath
Hizana Farhath
Hey readers, I am Hizana Farhath, pursuing B.Sc in Forensic Science. I am just a girl wishing to be a part of CBI and, along with that, passionate about writing and dreaming of creating magic with words and letters. So glad to share my writings with the whole world. Please find me on LinkedIn with the below link. I would love to connect with your peeps. Cheers.

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