A WhatsApp forward claiming that under the Disaster Management Act, only the government is allowed to post any kind of information related to the novel coronavirus is being widely circulated in social media and WhatsApp groups.
Mandate for All :
Tonight 12(midnight) onwards Disaster Management Act has been implemented across the country. According to this update, apart from the Govt department, no other citizen is allowed to post any update or share any forward related to Corona virus and it being punishable offence.
Group Admins are requested to post the above update and inform the groups.
Please adhere this strictly," reads the viral message.
A link to an article by Live Law is also attached to the message to make it appear more credible.
Disaster Management Act has been implemented under which no citizen is allowed to post any update on the novel coronavirus.
The claim is misleading.
Press Information Bureau, on their Fact-check Twitter handle has said the claim is misleading and false.
Msgs circulating on social media claiming-apart from Govt no citizen is allowed to post/forward update on #COVID19- is MISLEADING&FALSE#PIBFACTCHECK: Circulating unverified/false news leading to panic is prohibited. As responsible Citizens let's not circulate fake forwards (1/3) pic.twitter.com/JvPPzd25DR— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) April 2, 2020
The link in the viral forward directs to an article, titled 'Centre Seeks SC Direction That No Media Should Publish COVID-19 News Without First Ascertaining Facts With Govt' which was published on March 31.
The report talks about the Central Government seeking a direction from the Supreme Court that no media outlet should print, publish or telecast anything on COVID-19 without first ascertaining facts from the mechanism provided by the government.
The report does not convey the news mentioned in the fake message.
On March 24, the central government implemented a 21-day lockdown and stated that the Disaster Management Act, 2005 was being invoked to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
On March 31, the Supreme Court passed an order which states that Section 54 of the Disaster Management Act may be used to punish those who spread false information.
However, Section 54 is regarding Punishment for false warning.
This section has two parts.
(1) Whoever makes or circulates a false alarm or warning as to disaster or its severity or magnitude, leading to panic, shall on conviction, be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to one year or with fine.
(2) Whoever makes or circulates a false alarm or warning as to disaster or its severity or magnitude, leading to panic, shall on conviction, be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to one year or with fine.
Therefore, the claim mentioned in the viral message does fall under Section 54.
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