Govt sets up COVID-19 Fact Check Unit to counter fake news

It will release a daily bulletin at 8 pm every day

MUMBAI: In the wake of influx of misinformation that the government says is being spread through social media, the press information bureau of the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) has set up a portal, COVID-19 Fact Check Unit, which will be operational from morning of 2 April to receive messages by email and send its response in quick time.

PIB will release a daily bulletin at 8 pm every day to inform government decisions, developments and progress on COVID-19. The first bulletin was released on Wednesday at 6.30 pm.

The bulletin has been established after the supreme court gave a directive on controlling fake news during the pandemic. One of the reasons for the mass migration of labourers was a rumour that the lockdown would continue for more than three months.

The solicitor general of the government said that an official bulletin would be published via all media avenues, including social media; other media outlets should use only the official data. The apex court clarified that although it won't interfere with free discussion, the media should refer to the official version of the developments.

The ministry of health has set up a technical group consisting of professionals from AIIMs, etc., to clarify any doubts in the minds of the general public on any technical aspect of COVID-19.

The cabinet secretary has written to all the state governments informing them of the constitution of 11 empowered groups under the Disaster Management Act with clear-cut mandate to decide on various aspects of management of COVID-19, with a request to develop a similar mechanism at the state level.

Moreover, the health department has issued detailed guidelines to deal with psychological issues amongst migrants. State governments have been requested to engage volunteers to supervise the welfare activities of the migrants. 

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