States and Union Territories have been asked to create a mechanism to help people promptly verify facts and news, similar to the web portal being created by the Central Government.
In a letter to Chief Secretaries of states, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla has urged State Governments to take effective measure to curb fake news and prevent panic among citizens.
Bhalla said that the Government “is creating a web portal where people can verify facts and unverified news promptly. States and UTs are requested to create a similar mechanism at state-level for issues relating to the state.”
The communication comes in the wake of a Supreme Court hearing on a writ petition that traces the recent mass movement of migrant labourers due to panic created by fake news.
The Centre has also constituted a COVID-19 Fact Check Unit (FCU) in the Press Information Bureau (PIB) under the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting from Thursday.
The official version of any news on COVID-19 can be obtained from the Unit headed by PIB DG, Nitin Wakankar.
Referring to the Supreme Court’s observations and directions to ensure availability of basic amenities like food, medicines and relief shelters, the Home Ministry has asked all States and UTs to comply with Government’s directives and advisories in “letter and spirit”, to contain the spread of COVID 19 in the country.