Supreme Court expresses grave concern over fake news on social media and YouTube

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The Supreme Court on Thursday expressed grave concern over web portals and YouTube channels for spreading fake news in the absence of a regulatory mechanism.

“If you go to YouTube, you will find how fake news is freely circulated and anyone can start a channel on YouTube,” the SC bench comprising Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, and Justices Surya Kant and A S Bopanna said.

CJI added that these portals write anything against judges, institutions without accountability and only listen to powerful voices.

The CJI added: “Do not know who to approach…they are only concerned with the people who are powerful… judges, common man, they are not bothered.”

The Supreme Court further heavily came down upon some private media organisations carrying content with a communal tone.”Everything shown in a section of private media bears a communal tone. Ultimately, this country is going to get a bad name. Did you ever attempt to regulate these private channels,” the SC asked solicitor general Tushar Mehta.

Mehta said the Centre has come out with new Information and Technology Rules to take care of the issues flagged by CJI. However, he added that many petitions are filed in high courts challenging the new IT rules.

He informed the top court that the Centre has filed a plea for transferring all these petitions to Supreme Court.

The apex court agreed to hear after six weeks the Centre’s plea seeking transfer of petitions from various high courts to itself on the issue of newly-enacted IT rules meant to regulate online content including social media and web portals.

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