Communal tone of news channels bring bad name to country: SCtext_fields
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday voiced serious concern over the running of fake news on social media platforms and web portals, and said even news shown in a section of channels bears a communal tone, which may bring a bad name to the country.
The top court was hearing a case against media reports on the Tablighi Jamaat gathering last year in Delhi that was blamed for a spike in Covid cases in the first few months of the pandemic.
Naming YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, the Supreme Court said, "Web portals have no accountability".
"The problem is, everything in this country is shown with a communal angle by a section of the media. That is the problem. The country is going to get a bad name ultimately," said Chief Justice NV Ramana, questioning the government about the regulatory mechanism for websites and TV channels.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the government, added: "Not only communal but also planted stories. These portals can even put fake news."
Social media only listens to the powerful voices and several things are written against judges, institutions without any accountability, said the bench which also comprised justices Surya Kant and A S Bopanna.
"Forget individuals. Web portals write very badly even against institutions," said the Chief Justice.
He said the portals had no accountability and "never respond to us".
The Supreme Court expressed serious concern over fake news on social media platforms and websites.
The judges commented that there is no control over fake news and slander in portals and YouTube channels. "If you go to YouTube, you will find how fake news is freely circulated and anyone can start a channel on YouTube," they said.
"I have never come across web portals taking any action," said Justice Ramana.
"At least the NBSA (National Broadcasting Standards Authority) are responding to responsible people. Respond to us."
The Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind has asked the court to direct the Centre to stop dissemination of "fake news" related to the gathering at the Markaz Nizamuddin and take strict action against those responsible for it.
The Supreme Court agreed to hear after six weeks the Centre's plea seeking the transfer of petitions from various High Courts on new IT rules meant to regulate online content.