Freedom of expression is also a responsibility; Fake posts on WhatsApp, FB to land group admin in jail
 Source : News Bharati English  Date : 21-Apr-2017

Varanasi, April 21: Today the information or any simple post gets viral within seconds. Maybe because of social media this is the vast platform today. Incorrect information or fake news circulation through FB, WhatsApp could lead to serious unrest in the society. Hence from now onwards circulating such fake newsgroups can land the group admin in jail.According to a joint order issued by the district magistrate of Varanasi and the city’s police chief, circulation of offensive posts or fake news will lead the admin to land in jail. Odisha’s Bhadrak unrest was another issue which was stirred due to offensive posts.

Concerns are often raised over the fake news, morphed photos and offensive videos circulated on social media that can potentially trigger tension and even communal strife in a region. To address this, Varanasi DM Yogeshwar Ram Mishra and SP Nitin Tiwari issued a joint order that said a FIR can be filed against a group administrator if factually incorrect, rumor or misleading information is circulated on his/her social media group.

“There are several groups on social media which are named on newsgroups and also groups with other names which are propagating news and information which is not authentic. These are being forwarded without cross-checking,” the joint order stated. “While freedom of expression on social media is important, it also comes with a responsibility,” the order said.

The order stated social media group administrators should be ready to bear the responsibility and ownership of the groups. The administrator must include only those members who are personally known to him or her. If any statement is made by a group member is fake, can cause religious disharmony or rumor, the group admin must deny it on the group and remove the member from the group.

“In the event of inaction from the group admin, he or she will be considered guilty and action will be taken against the group admin,” the order stated. Such a post must also be reported to the nearest police station so that action can be taken against the member under the law. A case under cyber crime law, Information Technology Act, and Indian Penal Code will be filed in the case of violation of these guidelines.