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Fake news, misinformation about Muslims in media: SC lawyer files complaint to NCM, seeks action

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NEW DELHI: A sudden surge in misinformation and fake news regarding Muslims in the media, has been witnessed in the country just when the world is in the grip of Coronavirus and though many of these reports turn out to be totally false a couple of days later, this practice continues.

Alarmed, a complaint has been made to the National Commission of Minorities (NCM) in this regard. Supreme Court lawyer Ehtesham Hashmi has lodged the plaint and said that it is a matter of grave concern that such reports are being constantly aired that later prove wrong in fact-check and the authorities also deny such incidents. Still, more such reports that are divisive and communal in nature, appear soon after. 

"I would like to apprise you of the fact that old videos not connected to the spread of Covid-19 are being passed off as linked to it, with false captions or after giving it a communal twist in order to defame and harass a particular religion or people belonging to a particular religion altogether".

"Rather than putting focus on needs of doctors, the requirement of equipment other essential facilities during lockdown, focus is being brought on Tablighi Jamat", he writes in the plaint to Ghayorul Hasan Rizvi, the Chairperson of National Commission for Minorities (NCM).

Hashmi mentioned how alleged claims of behaviour about members of Jamat in Ghaziabad, without any proof or CCTV footage, were carried to defame entire community. "Even in such trying times of calamity and pandemic, things are being given a religious turn. Thousands of planes reached India including Chartered planes, but leaving all behind entire focus is being brought on Tablighi Jamat the need of which is more testing but this not being done even now".

Hashmi has said that the matter requires immediate attention as it has turned focus from crisis to religious conflict even as victims of recent Delhi riots have not come out of the trauma. He has sought stern action and asked NCM to come up with strong guidelines to ensure that media reports must be objective, rather than sensationalizing and creating a divide in the society.