At a time when the Indian government is fighting on multiple fronts — coronavirus, cyclone Amphan, Chinese intrusion at the border, locust attacks and now a heatwave, the government’s task is getting increasingly tougher by the day. The task is further compounded with the spread of fake news especially by mainstream media. India Today, in an ‘exclusive’ report claimed that Prime Minister Modi is all set to announce Lockdown 5.0 in his Mann Ki Baat address according to ‘sources’ from the Ministry of Home Affairs. However, the spokesperson of the MHA has unequivocally denied the report and labelled it as fake news.
India Today carried out a report which was duly shared by the likes of Rahul Kanwal, which claimed that the Prime Minister is set to announce Lockdown 5.0 in his Mann Ki Baat address as incidentally it falls on May 31, also the last day of Lockdown 4.0. The report further cited the ‘sources’ as it claimed that the Prime Minister will emphasise on the lockdown spirit and ease restrictions in most parts of the country.
Based on the MHA sources, the report even claimed that the next lockdown will largely focus on 11 cities with 70 per cent of the total cases of the Wuhan coronavirus in India. Lastly, the report claimed the Central government is also mulling on allowing places of worship to function albeit with certain conditions.
As the report went viral, the MHA has clarified that the report is nothing but speculation and a clear case of fake news.
The MHA said, “#FactCheck The quoted story claims to have inside details about #Lockdown5, from MHA Sources. All claims made therein are mere speculations by the reporter. To attribute them to MHA is incorrect and being irresponsible. #FakeNewsAlert”
— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) May 27, 2020
However, this is not the first time the MHA has had to debunk fake news wrongly attributed to it. Earlier this month, the MHA had clarified that it had not released any list specifying the schedule and shop timings of various establishments will be allowed to operate.
Just a couple of days ago, rumour mills were abuzz with the claims that the Homes Ministry has given the green light to reopen schools and colleges amidst the pandemic. Yet again, the Home Ministry took too Twitter to squash the fake news on Twitter.
Claim: MHA permits all States to open schools.
— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) May 26, 2020
Under the garb of “exclusive newsbreaks”, the mainstream media is forgetting its moral responsibility and is resorting to fake news. The mainstream media should be more responsible before publishing news and by claiming “sources”.