Negative news reports that “tarnish the image” of the state government will need to be fact-checked by the district administration. That is what the Uttar Pradesh government has directed to state officials in a letter issued on Friday. It asked the officials to “seek clarification” from media outlets if reports were found to be “distorted” or presenting “inaccurate facts”.
The letter issued by chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s principal secretary Sanjay Prasad instructed all 18 divisional commissioners, 75 district magistrates and other department heads to “fact check the negative news items”. It said a weekly report on these “negative news” will be uploaded in the state’s grievance redressal system and shared with state officials for investigation.
The weekly reports will be shared with the divisional commissioners, district magistrates, and heads of the departments for “probe”, the letter noted. The state’s department of information and public relations director will further send the weekly reports to the principal secretary of information and public relations.
The letter stated that the state’s department of information already collects information about “negative” reports published in newspapers and media outlets. “A quick fact check of these negative news items is necessary.”
“If it is found that any newspaper or media outlet has tried to tarnish the image of the state government… based on distorted or inaccurate facts, the district magistrate concerned will seek clarification from the manager of the media group,” the letter read.
The Yogi Adityanath-government has remained in the spotlight for its purported media clampdown. In 2020, the UP police arrested journalist Siddique Kappan while he was on his way to report the. He was booked under the UAPA and incarcerated for over 800 days, until the Supreme Court granted him bail. Watch his on what led to his arrest and the discrimination he faced at the hands of the police.