The Centre has sought directions from the Supreme Court for the media houses not to publish, print or telecast anything without first confirming it from the concerned authorities, keeping in view the sensitivity of the news regarding COVID-19 in the country.
The Central government had filed its status report with respect to the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a lawyer, Alakh Alok Srivastava, seeking a direction to provide food, medicines, shelter and other basic necessities to migrant labourers and workers amid the national lockdown.
The Centre stated in its report that it wanted media houses not to publish the news of COVID-19, without asking the Central government authorities, who are assigned to talk to media houses, keeping in view the welfare and benefit of migration labourers and other people due to the pandemic.
“We expect the media (print, electronic or social) to maintain a strong sense of social responsibility and ensure that unverified news — capable of causing panic–is not disseminated,” the report stated.
The report added: “We do not intend to interfere with the free discussion about the pandemic but direct the media to refer and publish the official version about the developments.
“The Supreme Court is yet to take a call and pass any order on the status report filed by the Centre.The total number of coronavirus cases in India rose to 1,397 after 146 new patients were reported in the last 24 hours, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Tuesday.