Chandigarh, April 24 (IANS) Fake news is literally travelling faster than coronavirus in Punjab!
“Rumour/Fake News: Patiala Senior Deputy Mayor, Yogendra Yogi who had tested positive for COVID-19 and who has been put under home quarantine was seen distributing ration to locals,” Special Chief Secretary K.B.S. Sidhu, who is in-charge of monitoring statewide coronavirus cases, informed in a tweet on Friday.
Clarifying further, he said: “Fact: He had tested negative and media had put out a wrong report.”
Sidhu, who is aggressively tweeting messages relating to coronavirus, told IANS that the focus of the government is to give the right news at the right time.
He said the fake news online and rumours relating to the pandemic have grown exponentially.
“The moment I come across news that seems fake, or based on rumours, after cross checking facts with authorities and if it is wrong I prefer to kill it spontaneously,” he said.
Acting tough against those spreading fake news on the COVID-19 crisis, Director General of Police (DGP) Dinkar Gupta has constituted a special team to monitor all social media platforms as well as to identify and take action against anyone found to be circulating false news.
The team will be headed by an ADGP rank officer to be stationed at police headquarters here, the DGP said, directing all district police chiefs to take prompt action against those spreading false news.
He said under the Disaster Management Act of 2005, which has now been promulgated to deal with the crisis, it is an offence to spread false news.
Issuing a strict warning, the DGP said the Punjab Police would come down heavily on anyone found guilty in this regard.
He said the onus of spreading false news would lie be the WhatsApp group administrators.