The Varanasi district administration has issued a directive to groups on social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook, warning them against propagating “unauthentic information and news”. In the joint order, released by District Magistrate Yogeshwar Ram Mishra and SSP Nitin Tiwari, it has been stated that only a person capable of holding responsibility should become a group admin, and that the admins should be familiar with all the members.
The order — released in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency — said several groups were forwarding “inauthentic information” to others without cross-checking the facts. It also directed the admins to keep a lookout for unconfirmed information which could lead to rumours or result in disturbances to social harmony, deny such messages and remove members who post such messages immediately.
The order further asked group admins to inform the police when such messages are posted so legal action can be taken under sections of the IPC, IT Act and cyber crime. If they fail to do so, the directive says, the admins will also be held responsible and action will be taken against them. For posting such messages and even forwarding them to another group, legal action would be taken under IT Act and IPC sections. It has been stated that directives given by the Supreme Court and High Court issued on the issue in the past would be followed.