Reply to plea on Markaz "fake" news: SC to Centre, PCI

SC asks Centre, PCI to respond to plea alleging "fake" news on Markaz incident

The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre and the Press Council of India to respond to a plea alleging "fake" news run by some TV channels over the Nizamuddin Markaz incident related to the Tablighi Jamaat.

"Don't let people instigate law and order issues. These are the things that later become law and order issues," a bench presided over by Chief Justice S A Bobde told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

The court asked the Centre and the Press Council of India to reply within two weeks as to what actions they have taken on alleged violation of the Cable Television (Regulation) Act by the news channels. It also allowed to include National Broadcasters Association as party to the matter and put the matter for consideration on June 15.

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Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind contended there was a fake news galore on Markaz issue, which damaged the secular fabric of the nation. Why is the government silent, he asked.

He maintained some broadcasts clearly made out offences under the law. He sought strong action against media organisations.

In its PIL, the organisation of Muslim scholars has questioned the use of terms like  'Corona Jihad' 'Corona Terrorism' 'Corona Bombs' and 'Islamic Insurrection' to demonise the entire Muslim community.

Over thousands of members, including foreigners, participated in the Tablighi Jamaat event  in Nizamuddin in Delhi in March. Hundreds of them were subsequently found to be infected with the coronavirus. 

After the incident, several news reports were shown with "communal headlines and bigoted statements" by presenting the information in a "twisted and incendiary manner". The petitioner alleged that certain sections of media have excerbated tension in society by showing "virulent and vitriolic statements" inciting hatred against the entire Muslim community. 


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