Due to the outbreak of Coronavirus in the world, India has gone for a complete lockdown for 21 days. Amidst this we found a viral message that claims that all social media group admins are requested to close every group for 2 days. If one fails to do so then they are punishable by the court of law under sections 68, 140 and 188. The message further claims that the Disaster Management Act has been implemented across the country, as per which apart from government departments, no other citizen is allowed to post any update or share any forward related to COVID-19.
Fact Crescendo received this message as a request for Fact Check on WhatsApp number 9049053770.
We started our investigation with a simple keyword on Google which led us to a clarification post PIB Fact Check on their official Facebook page. The post states that “Fake messages are going viral on social media claiming that legal action would be taken against admin and group members who post jokes on #Coronavirus , hence the group admin should close down the group for 2 days. This is #Fake! No such order has been issued by the Government.”
We ran another keyword search on Google about Disaster Management Act on Google which lead us to the order passed by Ministry of Home Affairs on 24th March 2020. On 24th March 2020, the central government announced nationwide 21 day lockdown and has stated that the Disaster Management Act, 2005 was being invoked to deal with Covid-19. As per the order, there is no such provision under the Disaster Management which says that apart from government departments, no other citizen is allowed to update or share news related to a disaster.
Fact Crescendo has done a detailed Fact Check on the Disaster Management Act 2005 which can be accessed here.
Conclusion- Fact Crescendo found the above mentioned post to be False. There is no order of legal action to be taken against group admins if they don’t close their groups for 2 days. There is no such restriction on citizens to share any news or updates about the coronavirus situation, as long as it is not false information. The viral message on social media is misleading and false.
Title:Messages claiming legal action to be taken against group admins is False amidst COVID-19Fact Check By: Aavya Ray