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Haryana Patrakar Sangh welcomes state government’s “New Web policy”

Respected Manohar Lal Ji,
Chief Minister,
Haryana, Chandigarh.
The Haryana Patrakar Sangh has welcomed the state government’s
the decision regarding  “New Web policy” and allowing accreditation to
social media Journalists. On the other, it has regretted that it was
very unfortunate to know that when the formation of New Web Policy for
social media news platforms regulation was in process, then this
the sudden blanket ban in six districts of Haryana including Karnal is a
huge shock for Journalists as well as informed citizens.
It is very disheartening to know that Karnal’s District Administration
took the decision of blanket ban on Karnal’s social media news channel
for the next 15 days solely on presumptions of certain facts. It is
very unfortunate to see that without giving a second thought of how
Social Media Journalists have worked 24×7 during the pandemic outbreak
for the people of Karnal. This platform has played a vital role in
bridging the gap between the Government and people. Thus instead of a
blanket ban on social media, the government should have in the first
place thought of regulating social media by bringing out rules and
regulations as per process.
I agree with the fact that in social media authenticity is foremost
essential and strict action should be taken against all those who are
involved in spreading dissemination of misinformation.  Thus, we can’t
ignore how social media has also helped us in dealing with
misinformation during this pandemic outbreak. Quoting an incident of
fake news related to “Sabzi Mandi Closure” during the lockdown in
Karnal. In this incident, we all know how Social Media news channels
helped the district administration dealt with the spread of
misinformation that created panic by informing people that the market
would remain open.
Thus, without acknowledging such incidents, the sudden blanket ban
announcement via a two-minute video message was a shock. It is more
shocking to know the reason given for this sudden ban “revealing of
the identity of Corona patients” wherein I want to state that such
revelations are actually made through District Public Relations Press
Release where the name, address and phone number of patients are
mentioned clearly. Thus, it is a matter of concern on the part of
press releases issued by the District Administration that disclosed
the identity of corona patients.  Also, if the revelation of identity
was a concern thus on first place why such sensitive information was
shared by District administration and secondly why no order or
notification brought out regarding “No Disclosure of Corona Patients
Identity” by media persons. This is a failure on part of the district
administration of being insensitive in the first place and then
putting the entire burden and blame on media.
I would also cite the recent Supreme Court decision (W.P 468/2020), In
this case, the Central Government approached the Supreme Court seeking
a directive to news outlets to refrain from publishing any COVID-19
related news without clearance from the government on the ground of
‘fake or inaccurate’ reporting could cause panic in the country but
the Hon’ble Supreme Court rejected this request of Central Govt.
I hereby also bring to your notice that this pandemic outbreak has
already led to a financial crunch for many journalists who have lost
their jobs and this sudden ban would further worsen the condition.
Thus I  request you to immediately revoke the decision of blanket ban
on social media for next 15 days taken by the District Administration
and form a committee of five members including three senior media
persons and two senior Government Officials so that proper rules and
regulations can be put in place or else we have to move to High Court
or Supreme court for seeking relief as this decision is an attack on
Freedom of Free Speech and Expression which is envisaged in Article 19
of the Indian Constitution.
Regards
K.B.Pandit
President
Haryana Patrakar Sangh

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