The News Broadcasters Association released a statement today, saying it "welcomes" yesterday's Supreme Court order directing media outlets to publish the government’s official version of developments pertaining to the coronavirus outbreak.
The association "agrees that the media should report responsibly and weed out any 'fake news' in social media while telecasting news on the coronavirus crisis," the statement said. The statement was signed by Rajat Sharma, president of the association and editor-in-chief of India TV.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court order was passed after hearing a plea that sought welfare for the migrant workers stranded across the country in the wake of the 21-day lockdown.
The bench said: "The migration of large numbers of labourers working in the cities was triggered by panic created by fake news that the lockdown would continue for more than three months...It is therefore not possible for us to overlook this menace of fake news either by electronic, print or social media."
The News Broadcasters Association also said it was "pleased" to learn that the government will issue a daily bulletin, which it said would "help media immensely to clarify the doubts and enable them to do accurate reporting".
The statement concluded: "NBA appreciates that the Hon’ble Supreme Court has acknowledged the freedom of the press and has stated that it does not intent to interfere with the free discussion, debate and coverage about the pandemic."
The News Broadcasters Association is an organisation that represents private television news and current affairs broadcasters.