Coronavirus: Delhi lawyers denounce TV news channels for demonising Muslims

‘We urge the Press Council, the Editors Guild and the government to strongly deprecate peddling of such fake news and to issue advisories to all channels and social media groups that are trying to vitiate the atmosphere.’

WrittenBy:NL Team
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Here’s the statement released by the lawyers in full:

We, the undersigned advocates practising in various courts in Delhi, express our grave concern about fake news being spread by certain sections of the media and social media concerning the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in India.

We would, at the outset, like to applaud the solidarity that all Indians have shown in cooperating with the lockdown and in distributing food and giving other assistance to the daily wagers and migrant labourers who were stranded in cities. We have all stood against this pandemic as Indians and would continue to do so.

Some news channels have been spreading the false narrative that the minority community is responsible for the spread COVID-19. Some fake videos have also been circulating on social media. The unfortunate spread of infection, to some persons, consequent to the congregation of persons from different parts of the world at a religious event in the first half of March, is being referred to as “corona jihad”, “Islamic insurrection”, “corona terrorism”, and various other hurtful and inflammatory terms against an entire community. The same is without any factual basis, amounts to hate speech and, out of fear, many victims may go into hiding instead of seeking treatment.

The Supreme Court of India has strongly deprecated the spreading of fake news while the country is fighting a pandemic and has asked the State to take action under the Disaster Management Act against those spreading such rumours.

We urge the Press Council, the Editors Guild and the government to strongly deprecate peddling of such fake news and to issue advisories to all channels and social media groups that are trying to vitiate the atmosphere. We urge the Ministry of Health to make a clear statement that the coronavirus has not originated in India and no community can be blamed for this.

We also urge the Ministry of Health to share the roadmap proposed by the Government of India after the lockdown to combat Covid-19, and to publicise the State’s medical preparedness. We would also be obliged if a timely press release is issued which lets us know if and what lifestyle and professional changes are expected from us as citizens so we have time to put them in place.

We also join other citizens in urging the government to announce a comprehensive recovery package for the most vulnerable which includes setting up of long-term shelter homes, distribution of rations, and declaration of a universal basic income to all citizens, urban and rural. These measures would give people confidence and energy to fight COVID-19.

We urge our fellow citizens to understand the seriousness of this pandemic and observe social distancing and adopt a scientific approach to protect themselves in this time of the pandemic.

Delhi High Court Concerned Women Lawyers

Indira Jaising, Senior Advocate;

Geeta Luthra, Senior Advocate; Kirti Singh, Advocate; Anuradha Dutt, Advocate; Anu Narula, Advocate; Sunita Kapil, Advocate; Nandita Rao, Advocate; Ekta Kapil, Advocate; Ruchi Singh, Advocate; Radhika Kulluru, Advocate; Swaty Singh Mallik, Advocate; Sunita Kapil, Advocate; Warisha Farasat, Advocate; Arundhati Katju, Advocate; Fozia Rahman, Advocate.

All India Lawyers Union

PV Surendernath, Senior Advocate, General Secretary.

Lawyers for Democracy

Som Dutt Sharma, Advocate, Convener.

Lawyers for Saving the Constitution

Chandrashekhar Parasher, Advocate, Convener.

MM Qayam-ud-din, Advocate; Sikander Siddiqui, Advocate; Aquib, Advocate; Faisal, Advocate; MM Kashyap, Advocate; Sayed Mansor Ali Arizvi, Advocate.


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